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DFA to file new protest over Chinese ships seen across West Philippine Sea
This March 22, 2021 aerial photo shows Chinese vessels still present in the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea, well within the Philippine exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
Armed Forces of the Philippines

DFA to file new protest over Chinese ships seen across West Philippine Sea

(Philstar.com) - May 13, 2021 - 9:59am

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday ordered the filing of another diplomatic protest with Beijing over a fresh report of 287 Chinese militia ships spotted across the West Philippine Sea.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea reported on Wednesday that the vessels were seen near islands both within and outside the country's exclusive economic zone.

Locsin made the announcement on his Twitter account but also said that the NTF should explain why it came out with a press release but failed to inform the DFA of the sightings.

"Maybe these idiots will have learned the protocol next time," he wrote. "We have a disease: everybody and his uncle wants to be a hero fighting China from the anonymity of a task force."

The country's top diplomat added that he has brought up the matter with President Rodrigo Duterte.

The diplomatic protests have not stopped Chinese ships, described by the NTF as maritime militia vessels and explained by the Chinese Embassy as just fishermen, from entering the Philippine's EZZ. China has also rejected the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated its nine-dash-line claim over much of the South China Sea.

In one recent public address of the president, he likened the crucial win to a piece of paper that he can just "throw away." 

According to the NTF, some 34 maritime militia ships continue to stay in the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, months after officials disclosed their presence in March.

The Palace said that Duterte raised the issue with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA RODRIGO DUTERTE TEODORO LOCSIN JR WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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