PH sends diplomatic protest over China’s latest West PH Sea incursion
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has confirmed that the Philippines has sent a diplomatic protest to China over its latest incursion in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
In his Twitter post on Sunday, Locsin initially said that the diplomatic protest, which comes after over 200 Chinese militia ships were spotted in the Juan Felipe Reef which is within the country’s territorial water, was recommended by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.
It was supposed to be sent on Monday morning, but Locsin later clarified that it was forwarded on Sunday night.
“So recommended by General Esperon this noon by What’s App. I got the coordinates, so to speak. And relayed to my legal artillery, “Fire at will.” Shell should be flying at first light. I don’t usually announce maneuvers but it seems everybody is baring his chest,” Locsin said.
“Diplomatic protest fired off tonight; can’t wait for first light,” he said in a separate tweet.
So recommended by General Esperon this noon by What’s App. I got the coordinates, so to speak. And relayed to my legal artillery, “Fire at will.” Shell should be flying at first light. I don’t usually announce maneuvers but it seems everybody is baring his chest. https://t.co/MxeanPHlIz
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) March 21, 2021
Earlier, Locsin said that he was just waiting for a recommendation from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to file a diplomatic protest over the Chinese incursion.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) March 21, 2021ADVERTISEMENT
Locsin said that while he had talked to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenznana, it was on a different issue and not about the Philippine Coast Guard report on 220 Chinese ships spotted in a line formation near the Julian Felipe Reef last March 7.
Lorenzana earlier called on China to stop its incursion and immediately recall its vessels from the Juan Felipe Reef as it is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
“We call on the Chinese to stop this incursion and immediately recall these boats violating our maritime rights and encroaching into our sovereign territory. We are committed to uphold our sovereign rights over the WPS,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
Reports early Sunday said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) informed the National Task Force West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) about the incident, which led the task force to raise the possibility of overfishing and destruction of the marine environment.
The Julian Felipe Reef where the Chinese ships were spotted is located just around 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza, Palawan, according to the NTF-WPS.
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