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âDuterte admin has filed 60 diplomatic protests vs Chinaâ
The report, titled “What are the latest developments in the West Philippine Sea situation,” noted that 45 of the 60 diplomatic notes against Beijing were filed under the leadership of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
DFA

‘Duterte admin has filed 60 diplomatic protests vs China’

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines – under the Duterte administration – has so far filed a total of 60 diplomatic protests against China, including on its new law allowing its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels plying the disputed South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a report yesterday.

The report, titled “What are the latest developments in the West Philippine Sea situation,” noted that 45 of the 60 diplomatic notes against Beijing were filed under the leadership of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

China has only addressed issues raised in 48 diplomatic notes to date, according to the DFA. The report, however, did not indicate how Beijing responded to the diplomatic protests.

The report, which was posted on the DFA’s Twitter account, was released amid mounting criticisms against the Duterte government’s apparent soft stance against China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea.

The Philippines, the DFA noted, was the first country to lodge a diplomatic protest against China’s Coast Guard Law. It issued a note verbale to China on Jan. 27.

“While enacting a law is a sovereign prerogative, the geographic area of coverage of China’s claims directly poses a threat to the conduct of Philippine legitimate activities in the West Philippine Sea, which, if unchallenged is acquiescence,” the DFA said.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian earlier said China’s new Coast Guard Law was meant for “extremely vicious” crimes only.

“The Coast Guard Law of China is in fact cracking down on those extremely vicious crimes only and it does not attack any specific country or any specific group of people,” Huang said in a recent interview with CNN-Philippines.

Under Locsin’s leadership, the DFA said it has been “assiduously protesting every infringement on our territory and of our sovereign rights, as well as Chinese actions that amount to provocation, threats or coercion.”

The agency said it has raised the South China Sea issue in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other fora even as it continued to engage China through the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea.

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