Philippine Foreign Minister Locsin slams Beijing over South China Sea
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin speaks during a press conference after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, China, March 20, 2019.
Andrea Verdelli | Getty Images
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. slammed China in decidedly undiplomatic language on Twitter on Monday, suggesting the Asian giant “pulls the f — out” as the two countries engage in a war of words about the South China Sea.
Locsin in the tweet accused China of straining its “friendship” with the Philippines. The foreign secretary has been a vocal critic of China in the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who sought closer ties with Beijing after taking office in 2016.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Responding to criticism of his rhetoric from other Twitter users, Locsin said that “The usual suave diplomatic speech does nothing. “
The Philippines and China 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.
Locsin’s Monday tweet followed. a statement from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, who protested against the “illegal presence” of Chinese ships in parts of the South China Sea that are internationally recognized as belonging to the Philippines.
The statement criticized the “belligerent actions” of the Chinese Coast Guard against their Filipino counterparts in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc. He said the Chinese embarked on “observation, blockade, dangerous maneuver and radio challenges” from April 24 to 25.
He also protested against “the relentless, illegal, prolonged and growing presence of Chinese finishing ships and maritime militia ships in Philippine maritime areas.”
Beijing said last week it “enjoys sovereignty” on Bajo de Masinloc – which she calls Huangyan Island – and its surrounding waters. He urged the Philippines not to escalate the disputes.
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 nine dashes mark Chinese territory on historical maps.
An international tribunal in 2016 rejected the so-called nine-dash line as legally unfounded – a decision Beijing ignored.