Philippine seeks clarification on US drone presence

Manila, Jan 7 (IANS) The Philippine government Wednesday said it will seek further clarification on the presence of a US military drone in the country and if it carried weapons, even as American officials in Manila clarified that the unmanned aerial vehicle was unarmed.

“We have asked our military authorities to confirm that this did not carry weapons and was not used for surveillance,” Xinhua quoted Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose as saying.

The Philippine military said Tuesday that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recovered by local fishermen off Polilio island in northern province of Quezon was owned by the US counterpart.

However, a spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the US Navy aerial target drone recovered last Sunday was not a surveillance equipment.

The DFA noted Wednesday that the expended BQM-74E aerial target “may have been used in a training exercise conducted in international airspace or Guam airspace, and subsequently drifted to our waters”.

The US embassy said the drone was an aerial target launched in September during a naval exercise in Guam and is not used for surveillance.

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