Sec. Locsin says he apologized to State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
Foreign Secretary Locsin won’t resign after censure from PRRD
MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he already talked with Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. after President Duterte told him to refrain from statements in the social media about Philippines-China relations.
At the press briefing at midday today, Secretary Roque said Secretary Locsin told him he already called the Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian and apologized. Asked if Secretary Locsin if he considered resigning from his post, Secretary Roque said there was no mention of resignation during their conversation.
In a related development, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated Huangyan Island is China’s territory and its adjacent waters are under China’s jurisdiction.
He said China urges the Philippine side to earnestly respect China’s sovereignty and jurisdiction, and stop taking actions that may complicate the situation. He referred to Foreign Secretary Locsin’s Tweet calling on Chine to leave Philippine territory.
“Facts and proven time and again that megaphone diplomacy can only undermine mutual trust rather than change reality. We hope that certain individuals from the Philippine side will mind basic manners and act in ways that suit his status,” Mr. Wang said.
Referring to President Duterte’s earlier statements that the differences and disputes between the two countries on issues should not affect the overall friendship and cooperation, which according to Mr. Wang, is an important consensus agreed upon by the Philippines and China on several occasions.
“China has always been and will remain committed to properly handling differences and advancing cooperation with the Philippines through friendly consultation, and will continue to provide assistance within its capacity to the Philippines in its efforts to fight the epidemic and resume economic development,” he concluded.
In his Tweet, Secretary Locsin said he did not apologize to the Chinese ambassador as it is his job to receive complaints and insults. He said he apologized to State Counselor Wang Yi whom he described as the “brightest and likable diplomat worldwide.” He further said Secretary Roque understands his “hair-trigger” temper under repeated provocation.
In a separate Tweet, he denied the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson’s remarks which described his pronouncement yesterday as “megaphone diplomacy.”
“It was an outburst of temper under repeated provocations in close succession by China against its Philippine neighbor which has kept reaching out for a measure of respect. It won’t happen again. Many any ways to skin a cat; a cleaver is not the right instrument,” Locsin said.
Still in another Tweet, Secretary Locsin said he doesn’t deny China’s claim as “it is free to say whatever it wants; but I do insist that the entirety of the West Philippine Sea and Scarborough Shoal belongs to the Philippines not by mere claim but by absolute right and legal victory that, President Duterte said, can never be.”
Secretary Locsin Twitted “China didn’t illegally occupy any islands.
“They took a reef of coral and water and poured sand to make it a sandbar then poured cement to make it a tarmac. Guess where they took the sand from? The Visayas. In yet another way Scarborough is ours; our coral beneath our sand above,” he said. (Melo M. Acuña)
Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and China's State Counselor and Foreign MInister Wang Yi during the latter's recent visit last January 16,2021. (Melo M. Acuna)