ONE diplomatic protest for each day for as long as the Chinese vessels remain at the West Philippine Sea. That is exactly what the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be doing in what appears to be an earnest effort to compel them to leave.
In his post on Twitter, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that they have filed another protest and hinted on more to come so long as China’s vessels remained in Philippine waters.
“Firing another diplomatic protest,” Locsin said. “Every day ’til the last one’s gone like it should be by now if it is really fishing,” reads his post on Wednesday, in fulfilling a promise to protest the presence of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea daily after the vessels continued to remain near Julian Felipe Reef and other maritime features despite its repeated demands to “immediately withdraw.”
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea stood firm on its claim that the Chinese vessels in the area were manned by Beijing’s maritime militia, citing the continued defiance to leave the area. The task force said that the vessels were not also fishing as claimed by the Chinese government, which earlier insisted that those vessels were just seeking shelter amid inclement weather.
China had since warded off allegations and went as far as berating Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana over what they aptly described as an irresponsible statement. Lorenzana, in previous news reports, was quoted as telling the Chinese government to pull out its vessels off the West Philippine Sea.
The DFA also assailed China’s tolerance of the ships’ presence in the West Philippine Sea, saying it showed a “lack of good faith” on Beijing’s part in ongoing negotiations on a code of conduct with Southeast Asian countries which seeks to provide stability in the South China Sea.
The DFA likewise took a swipe at its statement claiming Julian Felipe Reef as part of China’s Nansha Islands.