Contributed photo shows the Chinese research vessel Yuan Wang 3 docked at the Sasa wharf in Davao City yesterday. The ship arrived the other day for routine replenishment of supplies and provisions.
China research ship docks at Davao port
Jaime Laude, Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - July 18, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese research and surveillance ship dropped anchor at the Sasa wharf in Davao City on Monday right, raising suspicion over the real purpose of its visit.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Navy spokesman Commander Jonathan Zata quickly clarified that Yuan Wang 3 made a port call simply for routine replenishment of supplies and provisions.

“There was prior coordination made by Chinese ambassador Zhao Jianhua with Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. The docking was given approval,” Lorenzana, who is currently in Canberra, Australia, said in text message to defense reporters yesterday.

Lorenzana is one of six keynote speakers at the 4th Australia Security Summit, which opened yesterday.

Zata said there’s nothing unusual about the Chinese ship’s port call as foreign warships and civilian vessels had made similar visits.

He added that it’s not the first time that Chinese vessels had docked in Davao, citing port calls in April of a Chinese destroyer, a frigate and a supply vessel also at Sasa wharf. The Yuan Wang 3 will be in Davao City until tomorrow morning, said Zata.

“From the diplomatic clearance that we got, it will be (in Davao) until the morning of 19th,” Zata said.

The vessel reportedly has enormous satellite capabilities, and is believed to be under the control of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Armaments Department (GAB).

Last month, two large Chinese military cargo and transport planes landed at the Davao International Airport in a span of less than two weeks – purportedly to refuel.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said the docking of a Chinese research and surveillance ship at Sasa wharf is something Filipinos should be worried about.

“We should be concerned,” Alejano said, as he revealed the ship’s first port call in Davao was in 2010. He claimed its crew then barred local media and officials from the Bureau of Customs from boarding the vessel.

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