THE PHILIPPINES would file another diplomatic protest against China, its top envoy said on Wednesday, adding that it would continue to assert its rights in the South China Sea.
“They can say what they want from the Chinese mainland; we continue to assert from our waters by right of international law what we won in The Hague,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. tweeted.
“We must not fail to protest,” he said. “Have we fired off a diplomatic protest? Do it now,” he ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs.
China earlier asked the Philippines to respect its sovereignty.
Mr. Locsin this month said the Philippines would file a diplomatic protest against China daily over the presence of Chinese vessels within Philippine waters.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin in a press conference on Monday urged the Philippines “to respect China’s sovereignty and rights and interests” after the Philippines held drills in the South China Sea.
He also asked the Philippines to “stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.”
Senators slammed the statement of the Chinese official, saying the Chinese militia vessels should leave.
Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said China was disrespecting Philippine sovereignty.
“Beijing needs to stop contorting facts to suit her baseless claims, she said in a statement. “May I also remind Beijing that since the previous millennium, the South China Sea has always been shared by the region as a common maritime route and a source of fish and marine resources.”
”If China sincerely wants to avoid escalation, it should pull back her navy and maritime militia,” she said. “China can’t even respect freedom of navigation on the high seas, and now she wants respect for her unfounded nine-dash line?”
Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said Philippine drills were meant to check the country’s fishing grounds. “It is a peaceful exercise of our rights,” he said in a statement. “Our ships are going there in peace.”
An international court in 2016 favored the Philippines and rejected China’s claim to more than 80% of the disputed waterway based on a 1940s map. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas