Philippines claims to receive radio warnings from China over disputed waters

18 January 2016 (Last Updated January 18th, 2016 18:30)

Philippines officials have reportedly received warnings from the Chinese Navy when one of their planes was flying near the Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

Philippines officials have reportedly received warnings from the Chinese Navy when one of their planes was flying near the Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

The radio warnings were received while the Civil Aviation Authority personnel was undertaking an engineering survey for the installation of safety equipment at the Philippines-owned island Pag-asa, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Located near the Spratly islands, Pag-asa houses a small fishing community and Filipino troops.

"The Philippines has sought joint naval patrols with the US in the region, and signed an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement."

One of the personnel Eric Apolonio told AP that the warning read: "Foreign military aircraft, this is the Chinese Navy. You are threatening the security of our station."

They, however, chose to ignore the warning since they claimed that the land over which they flew was a Philippine territory and the plane they were flying was civilian. China has developed an artificial island in the region, and is now building roads and a runway to land its aircraft.

Tensions have been prevailing in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan, who have claims over the disputed islands.

The Philippines has sought joint naval patrols with the US in the region, and signed an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The Philippines said that it will proceed with the installation of aviation equipment, required by the International Civil Aviation Organization for the safety of commercial flights.

Pag-asa Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said the radio warnings were an act of intimidation and illustrated the threat to freedom of flight in the region.