Beijing urges ‘basic manners’ after blunt Philippines tweet over South China Sea
National flags of China and the Philippines.
Thomas Peter | AFP | Getty Images
China called for “good manners” and warned against “megaphone diplomacy” after Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. criticized Beijing in an offensive tweet.
On Monday, Locsin told China in a tweet to “bring out” as the two countries engaged in a war of words in the South China Sea. The secretary has been a vocal critic of China in President Rodrigo Duterte’s government and is known for his sometimes blunt remarks.
In several tweets over the following days, Locsin apologized to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and said he was “provoked by the latest most serious territorial violation.” Meanwhile, Duterte spokesman Harry Roque reportedly said the Philippine president reminded officials that blasphemy has no place in diplomacy.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin Responded to Locsin Explosion a Tuesday statement, claiming that “facts have proven time and time again that megaphone diplomacy can only undermine mutual trust rather than change reality.”
But Beijing also has a history of insulting attacks on other countries.
These aggressive tactics by Chinese diplomats have increasingly been exercised in recent years on social media platforms such as Twitter, which is blocked on the mainland. Observers dubbed the tactics “wolf warrior diplomacy,” following a series of hugely popular films where Chinese fighters defeat opponents around the world.
China and the Philippines have for years contested overlapping land claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich waterway with a total area of around 1.4 million square kilometers through which billions of dollars of International trade.
Beijing has over the past year seemed more assertive in disputed waters, leading Manila to protest on several occasions against the presence of Chinese ships in parts of the sea internationally recognized as belonging to the Philippines.
Beijing reiterated on Tuesday that Bajo de Masinloc – which it calls Huangyan Island – and its surrounding waters fall under China’s jurisdiction.
Bajo de Masinloc, also known as the Scarborough Shoal, is a chain of reefs in the South China Sea located about 120 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine coast and 470 nautical miles from the coast closest to the China.
China claims most of the South China Sea, based on what it says are nine dashes that demarcate Chinese territory on historical maps. An international tribunal in 2016 rejected the so-called nine-dash line as legally unfounded – a decision Beijing ignored.