MANILA, Philippines, April 23 (The Inquirer/ANN)—A warship of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) readied its guns for firing at a Philippine Navy ship near the Philippine-occupied Rizal (Commodore) Reef in the West Philippine Sea last February, according to a ranking Philippine military official on Thursday (April 23).
The Philippine Navy ship, BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), was on a sovereignty patrol mission when it encountered the Chinese corvette, with bow No. 514, on Feb. 17, said Vice Admiral Rene Medina, Western Command (Wescom) chief.The Philippine ship radioed the Chinese vessel and got this response: “The Chinese government has imputable sovereignty over the South China Sea, its islands and its adjacent waters.”
The Chinese vessel received another radio contact from the Philippine ship, instructing the Chinese ship to proceed directly to its next destination, Medina said. The Chinese vessel, however, repeated its response and maintained its course and speed.
Medina described it as a “gun control director.”
“This gun control director can be used to designate and track targets and make all the main guns ready to fire in under a second
Although according to the Joint Task Force West, the BRP Conrado Yap does not have electronic means, called electronic support measures or ESM, to confirm that the Chinese vessel’s gun control director was readying guns for aiming and firing at the Philippine Navy ship, “the visual identification confirms this hostile intent.”
The Philippine Navy has previously tagged the BRP Conrado Yap as its “most powerful warship” to date.
The BRP Conrado Yap is a Pohang-class corvette donated by South Korea which entered service in the Philippine Navy only last year.
On the West Philippine Sea incident, the Chinese and Philippine vessels went on their respective voyages after the encounter.
The Wescom reported this to higher authorities.
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