Defense Secretary Lorenzana to U.S., China: PH has the right to know activities in its EEZ

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(File photo) Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana being interviewed by the media over issues on South China Sea dispute

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The country wants to know developments near its shores in the wake of the drone controversy between the U.S. and  China.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said if he had his way, he wanted to discuss activities of China and the United States in the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) when Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Monday night met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.

"E kasi, kung ano ginagawa nila dyan sa area natin, dapat malaman natin kasi, meron tayong rights dyan e," Lorenzana said. [Whatever they're doing in our area, we should know about it. We have rights in the vicinity.]

On Thursday, Chinese authorities seized in the South China Sea — within the Philippines' EEZ — a U.S. underwater drone known as an unmanned underwater vehicle called "ocean glider."

China returned the drone to the U.S. on Monday.

Also read: U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral

Lorenzana said he could have had the chance to raise the issue during Zhao's visit — but the discussions centered on China's grant of more aid to the country, including an arms proposition.

Zhao offered a hundred million yuan or more than $14 million worth of firearms that will come in the form of a grant.

"Meron silang listahan nasa amin na. Titingnan namin kung ano ang equipment na nandon na pwede," said Lorenzana. [They have a list, it's already with us. We'll see which equipment we need are available.]

The grant will include small arms, night vision goggles and boats.

The deal could be finalized before year end, while delivery can happen by the second quarter of 2017.

China is also proposing a long-term soft loan, worth half a billion dollars, to supply big-ticket defense items.

"Sabi nya kay presidente kagabi [He told the President last night], I know your problems in terrorism, I know your problems in drugs so we would like to help you," Lorenzana said quoting Zhao.

China will also build another drug rehabilitation center, this time in Mindanao.

Lorenzana said there was no talk in the meeting about China installing more weapons in the disputed South China Sea.

He added "that would come" in the future, just "not now."

CNN Philippines' David Santos contributed to this report.

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