Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday said Westerners have “very little interest” in conducting marine surveys of the South China Sea in reaction to the reported presence of a Chinese survey vessel in the Reed Banks located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“What I know is there’s very little interest in marine surveys of SCS (South China Sea) by Western outfits; they don’t think much of the prospects in our neck of the woods,” Locsin said in a portion of his tweet.
In an earlier tweet, a seemingly unaware Locsin directed the Asia Pacific (ASPAC) desk of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to look into the reported presence of a Chinese survey vessel within the country’s EEZ.
“I know there was permission for a US survey ship, then a French one though I can’t remember when that was from the undiminishing pile of sheets on my table. @DFAPHL ASPAC check on this,” he said.
On Thursday, Indo-Pacific News said on its Twitter account that the Chinese survey vessel Xiang Yang Hong 14 is currently in the Reed Banks area.
It said the vessel departed from China on July 22 and arrived in the Reed banks on August 6.
“No opposition from the PH (Philippines) coast guard so far, as usual…,” the Indo-Pacific News said.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27, President Duterte admitted that his hands are tied when it comes to asserting the country’s right in the volatile South China Sea because doing so will only start a losing war against China.