• Melo Acuna

Defense Chief Lorenzana: Chinese Envoy Huang needs to explain as CH and PH foreign ministers meet

DND: 44 Chinese vessels still at Julian Felipe Reef; Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Foreign Secretary Locsin

MANILA – Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said the Chinese Ambassador H. E. Huang Xilian “has a lot of explaining to do.”

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the DND said as of their latest maritime and aerial surveillance, there were still forty-four (44) Chinese vessels that remained at Julian Felipe Reef.

“I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no other reason to stay there. These vessels should be on their way out. Umalis na kayo diyan (You should leave immediately),” he said.

Secretary Lorenzana said they have already lodged a diplomatic protest “stating unequivocally our stand on the issue.

“We, again, reiterate our demand for the Chinese to leave our sovereign territories and abide by international law,” he concluded.

The statement comes after the China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported China’s willingness to work with the Philippines to fully implement the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and promote consultation on a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

This was what Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when he met with Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin in Nanping City in Fujian Province yesterday.

According to Minister Wang both countries should make joint efforts in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and develop momentum of bilateral ties.

Minister Wang said to strengthen bilateral ties, cooperation is needed in areas including vaccine and joint construction of Belt and Road, and as emerging areas like cross-border e-commerce.

The statement said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that the year 2021 marks the 30th year anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Minister Wang said China is ready to work with ASEAN countries including the Philippines to further promote the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. expressed his thanks to China for providing anti-epidemic supplies, particularly vaccines to support the host country’s fight vs COVID-19 underscoring the fact China is not providing vaccines to engage in “vaccine diplomacy.”

“Without China’s support, it will be difficult for the region and the world to recover from the pandemic,” said Foreign Secretary Locsin.

CGTN also reported the Philippines welcomes China’s proposal to convene a special China-ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting, and the Philippines, together with ASEAN countries, will actively study the China-proposed Global Initiative on Data Security, Secretary Locsin was quoted saying by CGTN.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has not issues any statement on the meeting between Minister Wang Yi and Secretary Locsin as of this writing. Melo M. Acuña)






Photos of the Chinese fishing vessels described as Chinese maritime militia from the Philippine Coast Guard. Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin (left) meets Chinese State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday in Fujian Province. (CGTN Photo)

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