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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Foreign Secretary Locsin files diplomatic protest vs Chinese Coast Guard law

Diplomatic protest filed on latest Chinese Coast Guard law

MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said he “fired” a diplomatic protest against the latest law passed by China governing their Coast Guard.

In his Tweet shortly before 6:00 P.M. Wednesday, the Philippine Foreign Secretary who welcomed Chinese Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi last January 16, he said while he recognizes enacting laws as a sovereign prerogative, “this one – given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea – is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law.”

He added if such law is unchallenged, it may be considered submission to such edict.

It will be recalled he said two days ago that it is China’s business what laws it passes as he called for “a little restraint.”

China passed a law that clearly allows its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels which is seen to add tension to the contested South China Sea.

The Coast Guard Law was passed last Friday, authorizes its elements to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”

China has maritime sovereignty issues with Japan in the East China Sea and with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia in the South China Sea.

Chinese Coast Guard elements were reported to have gone after fishing vessels from other countries over the past years.

State media reports said the National People’s Congress standing committee approved the Coast Guard Law last Friday.

In a roundtable discussion with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCA)) some months ago with Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo, the Philippine Navy’s Flag-Officer-In-Command, said the Philippine Navy will exercise restraint while doing its regular patrol in the South China Sea, recognized as West Philippine Sea by the Philippine government.

“We will not fire the first shot,” Admiral Bacordo said.

Philippine Coast Guard Spokesman Commodore Armando Balilo said they will defer to the National Security Council.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila has not replied to requests for comment on the diplomatic protest by Secretary Locsin from Manila-based journalists. (Melo M. Acuña)

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. (left) and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the latter's visit to Manila last January 16. (DFA handout photo)

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