PCG says it respects Locsin rejection of Coast Guard attaché post, but says it’s needed | Global News
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PCG says it respects Locsin rejection of Coast Guard attaché post, but says it’s needed

/ 05:27 PM August 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday (Aug. 26) said it respects the decision of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to reject the designation of a PCG attaché in China but added that having one would boost maritime cooperation between Manila and Beijing.

PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the creation of such a position would “significantly strengthen maritime cooperation between the Philippines and China.” But the PCG, Balilo added, “fully respects the decision” of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin and “will continue to find ways to further secure the country’s maritime domain.”

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Locsin, in a tweet on Tuesday (Aug. 25), said that posting a PCG attaché in China would be comparable to conceding exclusive sovereignty over the Philippines’ coastal waters.

“A separate Coast Guard attaché means we concede exclusive sovereignty over our coastal waters so they are now subject to discussion instead of automatic protest,” he wrote.

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The proposal to designate a Coast Guard attaché had been discussed during high-level talks between the coast guards of the Philippines and China last January.

Balilo said the request to create a Coast Guard attaché post at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing was approved during the time of former Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino. It was recommended by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to the DFA on Oct. 29, 2019.

According to Balilo, the PCG attache would serve as a “focal person” who would deal with China in establishing a Joint Coast Guard Committee (JCGC) with involvement in “the fields of maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, maritime security, maritime safety and marine environmental protection.”

According to Balilo, this was also the basis of the PCG’s recommendation to create Coast Guard attache posts in Philippine embassies in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Chinese Coast Guard has maintained a constant presence in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims to own nearly in its entirety. China has been aggressively pushing its claims over those of other countries in the region. It has also been involved in cases of harassment of Filipino fishermen, Philippine military patrols and PCG operations in the area.

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TAGS: attache, China, China Coast Guard, DFA, Diplomacy, embassy, Foreign affairs, maritime territory, Philippine Coast Guard, Teodoro Locsin
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