Locsin says clearance for Chinese ship to stay in Catanduanes only for ‘humanitarian reasons’
MANILA, Philippines — A tweet of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday claimed that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) never granted a permit to a Chinese research vessel “to stay” in Philippine waters, but merely approved the emergency request of China’s embassy to allow the ship to seek shelter for “humanitarian considerations.”
“DFA never gave permit to [Chinese vessel] Jia Geng. But for humanitarian considerations we ok’d Chinese embassy request for shelter against bad weather,” said Locsin in his tweet.
@inquirerdotnet @DFAPHL DFA never gave permission to Jia Geng. For humanitarian reasons DFA okayed the emergency Chinese embassy request for shelter against bad weather. Request for shelter; not permission to stay and be watched. Period.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) February 2, 2021FEATURED STORIESGLOBALNATIONGLOBALNATION
INQUIRER.net, along with other media organizations, earlier reported that the Chinese survey ship Jia Geng that was spotted operating without consent in northern Philippine waters in 2020 has been sighted again within the country’s territorial waters, this time in the eastern side.
Locsin’s tweet clarified the position of the DFA on the matter of Jia Geng’s stay in Catanduanes. However, the top diplomat had deleted his expletive-ridden tweet and replaced it with a new one, but omitting the portion about the role of the Philippine Coast Guard.
“The Coast Guard has zero authority/competence to allow it. Only DFA. Not to stay. But seek shelter. Period. P*tangina,” a portion of Locsin’s now-deleted tweet stated.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said the DFA informed them on January 30 that the Chinese embassy had requested diplomatic clearance for the ship to take shelter in Catanduanes due to bad weather.
Balilo added that the PCG Catanduanes closely watched the ship 24/7 and monitored its activities throughout its stay.
The PCG also deployed a boat to inspect the Chinese ship but was refused access to the vessel because of Covid-19 restrictions.
But Locsin said the request from the embassy was only for the ship to seek shelter and not “to stay and be watched.”
The Chinese vessel entered the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone last Jan. 25 and was seen anchored off the coast of Bato, Catanduanes since Jan. 28.
The ship left Cabugao Bay in the municipality of Bato on Monday. According to Balilo, an Islander plane was sent to oversee the ship leaving Philippine waters.
Earlier, the Chinese embassy slammed news reports calling the Chinese vessel’s entry into Philippine waters an “intrusion.”
The embassy also defended Beijing’s new coast guard law from criticisms, insisting that the legislation conforms with international conventions and is not targeted at any specific country.
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