Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr ordered the filing of another diplomatic protest against China over the passage of its warships in Philippine waters.
Locsin gave the order to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs (DFA ASPAC) on Monday, August 19.
“DFA ASPAC fire diplomatic protest over Chinese warship; drop the diplomatic crap; say it is ours period; they’re trespassing,” Locsin tweeted.
This is the second diplomatic protest fired off against China over the presence of its warships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Prior to this, Locsin had filed a diplomatic protest against Beijing last August 9.
This is also at least the fourth diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines against China this year.
“If we did it already fire another. We won’t run out. And don’t wait for formal intel. This is the Secretary of National Defense no less. Fire at will,” Locsin said.
@DFAPHL @ASPAC fire diplomatic protest over Chinese warship; drop the diplomatic crap; say it is ours period; they're trespassing. If we did it already fire another. We won't run out. & don't wait for formal intel. This is the Secretary of National Defense no less. Fire at will.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) August 19, 2019
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has reported 13 instances of Chinese warships passing Philippine waters without permission or prior notice to the government since June 2019. (READ: Military hits ‘trespassing’ by Chinese warships in Philippine waters)
These included 4 Chinese vessels spotted near Balabac Island on June 17, including one reportedly identified as the aircraft carrier Liaoning.The same 4 vessels were also seen in Sibutu Strait between Februrary and July. Aside from this, another 5 Chinese naval vessels were spotted in Sibutu Strait in July and August.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier hit the passage of the warships, saying Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua supposedly said he would tell the Chinese Navy to give notice before having their warships enter Philippine waters.
“Ano ba ‘yung ‘Huy, daraan kami, makikiraan po’ (What’s so difficult about saying ‘Hey, we’re passing through, excuse us’)…. Why the secrecy?” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said Zhao made the commitment on July 22, the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.
The defense chief said he wanted President Rodrigo Duterte to bring up the illegitimate passage of Chinese warships in Philippine waters when he meets with China’s President Xi Jinping later this month.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said Duterte plans to finally “invoke” the historic 2016 Hague ruling against China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea during his visit to China this August.
Philippines-China relations have seen a turnaround under the Duterte administration, which has fostered friendlier ties with China by downplaying a decades-long sea dispute in exchange for loans and grants from Beijing.