Duterte’s China policy is the ‘opposite of appeasement,’ Locsin says
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ policy in dealing with China is the “opposite of appeasement” as it has been consistently asserting its territorial rights in the West Philippine Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. saidi on Monday in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“To begin with, you’re looking at the opposite of appeasement right now. Every transgression and incursion made by the Chinese, or even just a suspicion of it, is immediately reported to me and we craft a diplomatic note and fire it off. Every single one without fail,” Locsin said,
“Every time we file a diplomatic protest we assert again and again what we won in the Hague tribunal,” he added, referring to the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which upheld the Philippines’ exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
The foreign affairs chief issued these pronouncements after retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reportedly warned that China might start establishing air and naval bases on Scarborough Shoal.
Caprio, one of the leading experts and staunch defenders of the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, was also quoted as saying in the same report that the Philippines under the Duterte administration would “always appease China.”
“I’m afraid he’s wrong. He’s misinformed. I must say he’s deliberately misinformed,” Locsin said.
“The President brings this up himself to President Xi [Jinping]. Sometimes, it’s not so well-received. There was one time when he brought it up, and I said perhaps he should not bring it up, he did. The reception was very cold,” he added.
On June 9, the Philippines and China celebrated 45 years of diplomatic relations, during which Locsin said the ties between the two countries remained warm despite any differences.
Manila and Beijing have long been locked in a maritime dispute.
In 2013, the Philippines filed a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in The Netherlands challenging China’s sweeping claim of nearly the entire South China Sea.
The Hague-based court then ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 201,6 invalidating China’s nine-dash line.
Duterte has been criticized for setting aside the landmark 2016 arbitral ruling against Beijing’s mythical nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.
China refused to recognize the ruling, continuing its aggression in the disputed waters and building artificial islands to house military facilities.
The President avoided directly confronting Beijing over the maritime dispute in exchange for investments and loans.
Last April, the Philippines lodged two diplomatic protests against China’s recent aggression, as the Philippines’ attention was focused on battling the coronavirus in the mainland.
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