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Philippines protests China vessels’ provocative acts in South China Sea

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
Philippines protests China vesselsâ provocative acts in South China Sea
In a tweet, the DFA said the Philippines protested the unlawful issuance of over 200 radio challenges, sounding of sirens, and blowing of horns by Chinese government vessels against Philippine vessels “conducting legitimate, customary, and routine patrols over and around the Philippines’ territory and maritime zones.”
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has filed a new diplomatic protest against China over radio challenges, sounding of sirens and other provocative acts by Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a tweet, the DFA said the Philippines protested the unlawful issuance of over 200 radio challenges, sounding of sirens, and blowing of horns by Chinese government vessels against Philippine vessels “conducting legitimate, customary, and routine patrols over and around the Philippines’ territory and maritime zones.”

“These provocative acts threaten the peace, good order, and security of the South China Sea and run contrary to China’s obligations under international law,” the DFA said.

The DFA, however, did not provide details like when the incidents happened. The Philippine Coast Guard – through spokesman Commodore Armand Balilio – also declined to comment on the issue, saying only the DFA and the presidential spokesman are allowed to talk about it.

In September, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered the DFA to file three new diplomatic protests against China over unlawful actions in the West Philippine Sea.

Locsin ordered the filing of protest over China’s unlawful radio challenges, unlawful restriction of Filipino fishermen from Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, and the continued presence of Chinese ships in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef, some 125 nautical miles off the coast of Palawan.

According to the DFA, there have been 211 notes verbale issued by the Philippines since 2016, of which 153 alone were filed this year.

“China responded to 151 notes verbale,” DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said.

PCG Commandant George Ursabia Jr., meanwhile, said the coast guard has never abandoned its mandate as it continues patrolling the West Philippine Sea. – Robertzon Ramirez

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SCS
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