Locsin threatens to fire off protests vs China

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THE Philippines has threatened to fire off diplomatic protests after another over Chinese warships in its territorial waters.

“Fire off a diplomatic protest to China, and if we have already fired one off on the Chinese warships, fire off another,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said during a Senate hearing yesterday. “We’ll never run out of those.”

He also told the Senate foreign relations committee that the written request should use explicit, not diplomatic language.

Mr. Locsin said this in reply to Senator Franklin M. Drilon’s question about how his department was asserting Philippine sea claims.

Senators at yesterday’s hearing said China should be pressured to respond to diplomatic protests by the Foreign Affairs department.

“Given the imbalance in military power, economic power, we can continue to assert our sovereign rights by continuously putting this on record that we are protesting it,” the lawmaker said. “Otherwise we will be deemed to be accepting their incursions into our territory.”

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana on Friday criticized the unannounced entry of Chinese warships in Philippine waters, saying President Rodrigo R. Duterte should raise this during his visit to China later this month.

The Armed Forces earlier said five Chinese warships were seen off Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi province in the nation’s south. — Charmaine A. Tadalan