Palace: PH protest vs new China law will not affect vaccine procurement
MANILA, Philippines — The diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines against the new China law allowing its coast guard to fire at foreign vessels in Chinese-claimed reefs will not affect the government’s procurement of Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccines, Malacañang said Thursday.
“Wala pong epekto ‘yan [diplomatic protest] dahil ibang usapin naman ang bakuna,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.
(That has no effect on vaccine procurement because it is a different matter.]
“Ang bakuna (vaccine) is actually a humanitarian act of the entire planet earth in response to a humanitarian disaster,” he added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said he filed a diplomatic protestt against the new China law as it is a “verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law.”
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.”
The Chinese government earlier said it will donate 500,000 vaccine doses to the Philippines.
The Philippine government has also sealed a deal with China-based drugmaker Sinovac BioTech for 25 million vaccine doses with early 50,000 doses by February, 950,000 by March and two to three million in succeeding months until December.
Malacañang welcomes the filing of the protest.
“This will prove that the Philippines is fully committed to the rule of law and will assert all its rights available under existing principles of international law to defend its interests,” Roque said.
“Our independent foreign policy is intended to be friends with everyone, enemies with no one, but we will protect and secure the Philippine national interest,” Roque added.
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.
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