Philippines protests new China coast guard law
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has filed a diplomatic protest against a new China law allowing its coast guard to fire at foreign vessels in Chinese-claimed reefs.
“After reflection, I fired a diplomatic protest,” Locsin tweeted Wednesday.
After reflection I fired a diplomatic protest. While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one—given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea—is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it. https://t.co/h2wHNPPH8n
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) January 27, 2021
“While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one—given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea—is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it,” he added.
The said law allows the Chinese Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”
Locsin’s filing of the diplomatic protest came two days after he deemed China’s passage of the law was “none of our business.”
“[I]t is China’s business what laws it passes; so please a little self-restraint,” he said in a tweet Monday.
It's none of our business; it is China's business what laws it passes; so please a little self-restraint. I devised a visa rubber stamp that stamps most of the South China Sea and parts of North Borneo as our national territory and no one has complained. I forgot to include Guam. https://t.co/azdPHvYq8v
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) January 25, 2021
Some senators have already sounded the alarm over China’s new law with Senator Richard Gordon describing it as a “creeping threat that can escalate any time.”
Senator Francis Tolentino, meanwhile, said he worries for Filipino fishermen, who are possibly still not aware of this legislation recently adopted in Beijing.
China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including waters within the exclusive economic zones of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines (the West Philippine Sea), Vietnam, and Taiwan.
In July 2016, the Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim, a ruling that Beijing refuses to recognize.