‘More than just a protest:’ Locsin vows action if China coast guard law triggers ‘incident’
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday vowed action that would be “more than just a protest” should there be an incident due to China’s new law, which would allow its coast guard to fire at foreign vessels in Chinese-claimed areas.
“So far there has been no incident. If there is an incident, I can assure you there will be more than just a protest,” Locsin said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Locsin earlier fired off a diplomatic protest against China’s new coast guard law, which he described as a “verbal threat of war” to any country that will defy it.
“Initially I said, you make a law, a domestic law that’s nobody’s business, however, on reflection, you realize that this law can be applied to areas that they claim are theirs…they will fire if there’s resistance. That to me is a threat of war,” the foreign affairs chief said.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila has defended the said law from criticisms as it insisted that it conforms to international conventions and is not specifically targeted at any certain country.
Despite the assurance that the legislation will pose “no threat,” Locsin said the Philippines’ protest against the law stands.
“It was carefully pointed out that there is no exact delineation of jurisdiction. Yeah, sure, there’s no exact delineation of jurisdiction in the law, but what if there is? There could be, so my protest stands,” he said.
Under the law, the Chinese Coast Guard is allowed 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.”
Beijing’s new coast guard law also lets Chinese Coast Guard personnel “demolish” other countries’ structures built on China-claimed reefs and to board and inspect vessels in waters claimed by China.
Several lawmakers have already sounded the alarm over the law with one senator describing it as a “creeping threat that can escalate any time.”
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