Chinese weather stations in Spratlys ‘not claims of ownership’ – Locsin
SINGAPORE – China’s weather stations in the Spratly Islands are “not claims of ownership, the country’s top envoy said Thursday after concerns were raised that these installations could beef up Beijing’s military capability in the disputed sea.
“I don’t think they’re claims of ownership, they’re claims of sovereignty, they’re weather stations,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a press briefing here at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
Locsin said the issue on the presence of weather stations in the disputed sea was not discussed during the Asean-China Summit where Chinese Premier Lee Keqiang attended.
“No, there wasn’t any. I don’t even know if there are weather stations,” he said.
Malacañang has earlier said the government would file a diplomatic protest if the presence of weather stations were proven.
But Locsin said he does not like sending note verbale.
“I prefer to talk. In fact, when I was in the UN they would keep asking me to file note verbales, I said no, I call that notes ‘verbage.’ Anytime you send a note verbale, and no one responds to it, what does that look like? When you keep sending notes, I know some people say when you keep sending them, I call it as banging your head against the wall,” he said.
“What we do, as we have done there in the UN, is assert our rights under the Hague tribunal decision under UNCLOS. And I’ll send notes verbales to people who don’t even answer to me. Let them do it if they want, the critics back home,” he added.
Locsin said he would get the opinion of the Department of National Defense (DND) on the issue./ac
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