A day after he launched a profanity-laced demand for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s withdrawal from the Philippine waters, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday issued an apology specific to his foreign counterpart Wang Yi.
“I won’t plead the last provocation as an excuse for losing it; but if Wang Yi is following Twitter, then I’m sorry for hurting his feelings but his alone,” Locsin said in a social media post.
“His opinion alone matters,” he added.
An enraged Locsin expressed frustration over the Chinese militia ships’ presence in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), using Twitter to tell China “GET THE F*K OUT” of the area.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also launched two new diplomatic protests against China to object to “the incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones” along with the “belligerent” actions of Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) against members of Philippine Coast Guard that are conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises in Bajo de Masinloc from 24 to 25 April.
“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F*K OUT. What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attention on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province,” the top diplomat said.
As of 28 April, the National Task Force on WPS (NTF-WPS) reported that five CCG vessels remain in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) despite the series of diplomatic protests filed for its withdrawal.
Three were sighted at Bajo de Masinloc, one in the municipalities of Kalayaan in Palawan, and another one off the Ayungin Shoal.
The DFA said that as of 26 April, a total of 78 diplomatic protests have been lodged against China by the Duterte administration.
Earlier in the day, Malacañang distanced itself from the issue citing “free speech”, but President Rodrigo Duterte thought otherwise.
He seemingly took a swipe at Locsin’s statement saying that the territorial dispute is not enough merit for the Philippines to be rude to China.
“Just because we have a conflict with China doesn’t mean to say that we have to be rude and disrespectful,” the Chief Executive said on Monday night.
Amid the ongoing tension due to the maritime dispute, Senator Panfilo Lacson said it is about time for the Philippines to review its diplomatic ties with China.
“What kind of friend — or benefactor — would take what is ours, bully us, and ignore our protests?” he said in a statement.
Lacson, who is among the 11 senators who signed a resolution condemning the illegal activities of China in WPS, said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon accepted two of his amendments in the proposal including the move to urge DFA to consider reviewing the said international relationship.
“Maybe a review of the country’s diplomatic relations is timely and called for. All the diplomatic protests that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs filed have been ignored as if nothing was filed at all,” his tweet reads.
“The continued incursions and bullying finally got his goat. The Senate must support him in this regard,” it added.
The lawmaker has repeatedly called for DFA to seek other options in resolving the territorial dispute including strengthening alliance with other countries.
He said that based on its actions, China is seemingly ignoring the diplomatic protests the Philippines fire against it.
China has made at least three major incursions in WPS, Lacson said.
First is in Scarborough Shoal, second is in Panatag Shoal while the latest is the sighting of its maritime militia vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef, the lawmaker cited.
Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, meanwhile, clarified that the President did not ask Locsin to issue an apology to China.
“The message of the President was profanity has no place in the field of diplomacy. The President asked his Cabinet members that they are prohibited from using profanity. Only he could curse but others cannot do it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roque said the Palace remains confident that Locsin’s apology won’t weaken the diplomatic protests filed by the government against Chinese incursions.
Duterte, in his meeting with the pandemic task force Monday night, said that “just because we have a conflict with China, it does not mean to say that we have to be rude and disrespectful.” He did not mention Locsin.
China, through Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, however, reiterated that: “The Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) is China’s territory and its adjacent waters are under China’s jurisdiction”.
“China urges the Philippine side to earnestly respect China’s sovereignty and jurisdiction, and stop taking actions that may complicate the situation. Facts have proven time and time again that megaphone diplomacy can only undermine mutual trust rather than change reality. We hope that (a) certain individual from the Philippine side will mind basic manners and act in ways that suit his status,” he added.
“Just as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said, the differences and disputes between the two countries on some issues should not affect the overall friendship and cooperation, which is also an important consensus reached by China and the Philippines on many occasions.
China has always been and will remain committed to properly handling differences and advancing cooperation with the Philippines through friendly consultation, and will continue to provide assistance within its capacity to the Philippines in its efforts to fight the epidemic and resume economic development,” Wang stated.