MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday said he has taken down his expletive-laden Twitter post against China after the social media platform flagged it as having violated its rules.
“I will have to take it down out of respect to the medium that I have solely trusted to deliver my messages to the far corners of the earth since 2011,” Locsin tweeted, along with a screenshot of his posts last May 3, one of which showed a message from Twitter saying that it violated its rules.
The flagged tweet appeared to be a post where Locsin told Beijing to “get the f**k out” of Philippine waters after months of swarming of Chinese fishing and militia vessels inside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O… GET THE F**K OUT. What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province,” read Locsin’s original post.
The secretary later apologized to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, saying he would deeply regret losing his “friendship” with his counterpart.
“I won’t plead the last provocation as an excuse for losing it; but if Wang Yi is following Twitter then I’m sorry for hurting his feelings but his alone,” he added.
It was unclear what specific Twitter rule was violated by Locsin’s tweet.
The social media platform, which has a policy against hateful conduct, sometimes allows violative tweets from elected and government officials if it is considered as “content to be in the public interest if it directly contributes to understanding or discussion of a matter of public concern.”
“In rare instances, we may choose to leave up a tweet from an elected or government official that would otherwise be taken down. Instead we will place it behind a notice providing context about the rule violation that allows people to click through to see the tweet,” read the policy.
Such “public-interest exceptions” rule appeared to not have applied in Locsin’s recent tweets.
In another tweet, Locsin defended the platform, saying “without Twitter the world would be a far, far, far more ignorant place than it is. We take a blessing with its rules.”
The secretary is known for his off-the-cuff remarks on the platform, which he also uses to announce policy directives, such as his recent orders to send diplomatic protests to China over the presence of its militia and fishing vessels in Philippine waters.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday said it will continue to implement the foreign policy statement issued by the President during the United Nations General Assembly last September, where he affirmed the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated China’s claim in the South China Sea.
“The President’s statement at the 75th UN General Assembly on the 2016 South China Sea Award stands as the supreme expression of foreign policy on the West Philippine Sea issue,” added the DFA.
The DFA issued the statement after Duterte described the ruling as a mere scrap of paper in a recorded address aired last week.
In his speech before foreign leaders, Duterte said the Philippines firmly rejects attempts to undermine the award, which he described as “now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon.”
“We welcome the increasing number of states that have come in support of the award and what it stands for – the triumph of reason over rashness, of law over disorder, of amity over ambition. This – as it should – is the majesty of the law,” he added.
Other than this statement, Duterte has not pushed for the enforcement of the ruling, declaring in several instances that China is already in possession of the West Philippine Sea.
The President recently drew criticisms for supposedly failing to call out the presence of Chinese vessels in Philippine waters.
Some of his Cabinet members, most notably Locsin and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, issued scathing remarks over the swarming of Chinese vessels inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.