Locsin firm in criticizing China's provocations in West PH Sea

Published May 5, 2021, 1:15 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has admitted that he used “not the right instrument” in delivering his message to China hours after he apologized to Chinese Foreign Minister and State Counselor Wang Yi for his controversial expletive-laced tweet that grabbed headlines across the world.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (AP Photo / Sakchai Lalit / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Locsin remained uncompromising in his stance that the Scarborough Shoal and the entirety of the West Philippine Sea belong to the Philippines “not by mere claim but by absolute right and legal victory.”

“No megaphone; it was an outburst of temper under repeated provocations in close succession by China against its Philippine neighbor which has kept reaching out for a measure of respect. It won’t happen again. Many, many ways to skin a cat; a cleaver is not the right instrument,” the DFA secretary said in response to the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement calling his tweeting habit “megaphone diplomacy.”

Locsin maintained that China is free to say whatever it wants to express except for its claims that go beyond the Philippine waters.

“Every drop of water and every feature within our Exclusive Economic Zone-and outside it like Pag-asa-is ours and not and never China’s. The President no less said it before the UN General Assembly,” he said.

In reclaiming some features in the West Philippine Sea, Locsin said China did not occupy any islands but converted them using sand from the Philippines.

“They didn’t illegally occupy any islands. They took a reef of coral and water and poured sand to make it a sandbar then poured cement to make it a tarmac. Guess where they took the sand from? The Visayas. In yet another way Scarborough is ours: our coral beneath our sand above,” he said.

Adhering to the suggestions of the Chinese foreign ministry for him to observe proper decorum and act like being= the country’s top diplomat, Locsin assured that he will mind basic manners and “act as I’ve usually done in ways that suit my status.”

“I did it well with China in the UN. I just lost it. But these constant provocations…no they’re no excuse for dropping manners,” the former newspaper publisher and politician said.

Locsin acknowledged that he only lost his temper when he was “provoked by the latest grossest territorial violation,” in reference to the reported illegal presence of Chinese Coast Guard vessels in Bajo De Masinloc and their belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard.

On Tuesday, Malacañang chastised Locsin for being rude against China, prompting him to apologize to his “friend” Minister wang Yi.

 
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