The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has branded the remark of Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian to remove the Philippine vessels in Ayungin Shoal as a mere “wolf warrior release.”
While no official statement from the DFA has been issued, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said they will weigh if an answer to the Chinese Spokesman’s statement will be issued.
“We will endeavor to ask if a reaction/statement is forthcoming to this baitworthy wolf warrior release,” Meñez told reporters, Thursday, Nov. 25.
He also said that Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has stated before that “countries are free to say whatever they want.”
“I will add that whether the ‘court of global public opinion’ believes your narrative is another story altogether,” Meñez added.
Zhao has insisted that the Ayungin Shoal is part of China’s Nansha Qundao, saying the delivery of food and other supplies in the area is “a provisional, special arrangement out of humanitarian considerations.”
“China demands that the Philippine side honor its commitment and remove its grounded vessel on Ren’ai Jiao (Ayungin Shoal). This position remains unchanged,” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during the second attempt of the resupply mission, a Chinese Coast Guard ship deployed a rubber boat with three personnel who took pictures and video footage of the Philippine forces unloading the boats, which he considers as a form of intimidation.
Zhao justified the acts, saying that “the China Coast Guard ship patrolled and performed its duty in the water area in accordance with law and monitored from start to end the Philippine side’s supply delivery activities.”
On Nov. 16, two Philippine supply boats transporting food supplies to Philippine military personnel in Ayungin Shoal were blocked and water cannoned by three Chinese Coast Guard vessels.
No one was hurt from the incident but the supply mission was aborted.
Locsin immediately protested the act, which he deemed illegal, and conveyed to the Ambassador of China and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, his outrage and condemnation over the harassment, saying “we do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory.”
Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.