The head of Filipino diplomacy made little diplomatic comments about the Chinese presence in the waters of the South China Sea. “China, friends, how can I say it politely? Get out …” – proclaims the unusual entry of the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The undiplomatic statement was made during weeks of tensions and exchanges of notes between the two countries in connection with the situation in the disputed body of water. In March, some 200 Chinese cutters and other vessels were detected in the Scarborough Shoal Area, which lies within the Philippine Special Economic Zone. In late April, the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard began training in the area.
Teodor Locsin Jr.’s tweet hit the net on Monday, shortly after the ministry he headed rejected Beijing’s claims to the Philippine islands and Scarborough, 240 km off the country’s main island. China’s diplomatic and military response to the ongoing maneuvers has also been criticized.
72-year-old Teodoro Locsin Jr. He accused Beijing of carrying out the same activities there for which he criticized the Philippines, and compared the communist government to an “ugly idiot”.
Authorities in Manila accused the Chinese of tracking Filipino crews. According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the crews of Chinese ships were also to attempt to block the units taking part in the exercises, make dangerous maneuvers and broadcast confrontational radio messages. According to CNN Philippines, about 300 Filipino seafarers have been participating in the exercises that have been conducted for over a week.
“The national interest cannot be negotiated”
On April 26, China criticized the maneuvers, demanding that the government in Manila “stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.” These demands were rejected two days later by Filipino Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana.
On April 29, the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, spoke on the matter. He stated that although his country owed China for many reasons, including providing free vaccines against the coronavirus, it is the national interest that cannot be negotiated. He added that Manila will not withdraw the ships from the waters that, according to international maritime law, lie within the Philippine special economic zone.
Beijing has historic claims to 90 percent of the South China Sea, including waters under applicable international law belonging to neighboring countries – apart from the Philippines, also Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. The Chinese built many artificial islands there, erecting military infrastructure on them
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague dismissed China’s territorial claims against the Philippines. However, the authorities in Beijing ignored his ruling, and incidents continue to occur in the disputed area.
Main photo source: MARK R. CRISTINO / PAP / EPA