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Locsin ‘will universalize ban’ on survey ships ‘by adding China’

/ 02:35 PM August 12, 2019

Updated

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Monday that he would “universalize” his ban on marine survey ships “by adding China” in the list of countries whose survey vessels are prohibited in Philippine waters.

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This developed after reports of recurrent sightings of Chinese survey vessels sailing unannounced into Philippine territories.

“I banned marine survey ships, amending restriction to France & Japan by adding China,” Locsin said on Twitter.

The country’s top diplomat was reacting to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s pronouncement that there was nothing wrong with seeking help from the United States in monitoring the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

This was in light of recent reports involving Chinese ships — including the two Chinese survey ships that were spotted within the country’s EEZ in the West Philippine Sea — sailing into Philippine waters without clearance from Philippine authorities.

“To pick & choose invites suspicion of favoritism. Will universalize the ban. Period,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) chief went on.

“Granting exception to one country will automatically lift ban universally. Exceptions invite bribes,” he added.

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Meanwhile, maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal appealed to Locsin to allow Philippine-led maritime scientific research (MSR) projects “push through” as it “also got banned bec[ause] we invited foreign scientists or asked to use foreign ships.”

Batongbacal was referring to MSR projects organized by the University of the Philippines (UP) Marine Science Institute (MSI) and the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS).

“UP-MSI & UP-NIGS both put together separate MSR projects with foreign partners,” Batongbacal said.

“One using PH vessel but [with] foreign scientists participating on team, other using foreign vessel [with] deep-sea research capability we don’t have yet but project design [is] ours and PH scientists onboard,” he further said. “But both got canned due to MSR moratorium while China MSR unimpeded.”

In response, Locsin asked: Philippine marine survey? You don’t need permission for that. O crap, with foreigners on board. But our marine survey ship, right? Or what would be the difference?

Batongbacal then explained that the “[d]ifference is that these were definitely PH led MSR projects; just had international cooperation that PH solicited.”

Locsin later on said “Philippine marine survey ship & it is a go.”

“Invite foreigners including Chinese. Knowledge has no enemy except ignorance. Brains outside their head look the same; why discriminate?” the foreign affairs secretary added.

Diplomatic protests

Since June, Locsin had announced the filing of at least three diplomatic protest over recent reports of Chinese vessels circling near or in Philippine waters on different occasions.

The latest one was over the reported sighting of two Chinese survey ships within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). 

READ: Defense chief on Chinese ships: Why the secrecy? 

Ryan Martinson, assistant professor of the China Maritime Studies, tweeted images of the Dong Fang Hong 3 off the waters of Ilocos Norte and the Zhanjian off the waters of the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions. /kga / atm

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TAGS: Asia, China, DFA, Diplomacy, Global Nation, local news, nation, national news, News, Philippine news updates, Philippines, Security, sovereignty, survey ship, Teddy Locsin Jr., Territory
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