Locsin: PH has filed 158 diplomatic notes vs China on WPS issues
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government has filed 158 diplomatic notes against China over its actions in the West Philippine Sea, but the latter only responded to 124 of them, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Monday.
During the House deliberations on the proposed budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for 2022, Locsin said that diplomatic protests were filed in all “infractions” against the Philippine territory.
“I have here 158 diplomatic notes to China… 143 issued under my tenure. China has responded in the issues raised in 124 of our Philippine diplomatic notes. You know why? Because it’s a free world,” Locsin said.
“I protest, they answer. It’s a free world. That’s their prerogative. But we never yield,” he added.
Locsin stressed that the DFA has “always asserted what is ours, and answered any other contrary claim” on the country’s territories.
“The other side asserts their claims, asserts their position. It’s a free world. From the other side, in their capital, they can say what they want, but from us, our side and international forum, we say, what is our right,” Locsin said.
“They talk about claims, we talk about the right, and that right is confirmed by the arbitral award and UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) to which that side and our side are signatories,” he added.
In 2013, the Philippines under the Aquino administration challenged in the Hague court China’s claim that it owned more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, which includes waters in the exclusive economic zones of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
In 2016, two weeks after Duterte assumed office, the tribunal ruled that China’s claim had no basis in international law and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea, the waters within the country’s 370-km exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
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