Chinese Embassy responds to Lorenzana’s ‘perplexing statement’ on Julian Felipe Reef
Marje Pelayo • April 4, 2021 • 385
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on Saturday (April 3) reacted to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement reiterating his demand for China to remove its vessels from Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
The Embassy said it has noted Lorenzana’s remarks on alleged Chinese incursions into the Philippine territory saying it was a “perplexing statement.”
The Chinese Embassy stressed that Philippine officials should “avoid any unprofessional remarks which may further fan irrational emotions.”
Lorenzana in his statement called on the Chinese Ambassador to explain why “still forty-four Chinese vessels” are in the Julian Felipe Reef based on the military’s latest maritime and aerial surveillance.
“I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no other reason to stay there. These vessels should be on their way out. Umalis na kayo diyan, (Leave the area,)” Lorenzana said.
In response, the Chinese Embassy in Manila on its Facebook page wrote that it was only normal for Chinese vessels to be in the area claiming that Julian Felipe Reef is part of China thus it is named in Chinese “Niu’e Jiao”.
“The Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Islands. The waters around Niu’e Jiao has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen for many years. The Chinese fishermen have been fishing in the waters for their livelihood every year. It is completely normal for Chinese fishing vessels to fish in the waters and take shelter near the reef during rough sea conditions,” it said.
“Nobody has the right to make wanton remarks on such activities,” it added.
The Philippines has again lodged a diplomatic protest against China unequivocally stating the country’s stand on the issue.
“We, again, reiterate our demand for the Chinese to leave our sovereign territories and abide by international law,” Lorenzana said in his statement.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense has denounced what it called “the irresponsible propaganda” that has been making rounds on social media which alleged that a group of retired and active military officers is withdrawing their support for President Rodrigo Duterte.
“This is fake news! I am not, and will never be, a part of any such group — neither are the officials at the Department of National Defense, many of whom are also retired military officers,” DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement issued on Sunday (April 18).
Lorenzana stressed that “such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors, who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues.”
The Defense chief urged what he called “destabilizers” to stop issuing such malicious propaganda amid the uncertainties brought by the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“We call on these destabilizers to cease from propagating malicious statements especially at a time when our people should all be coming together in the face of the challenges that we are all currently facing. You are not helping our country and people at all,” Lorenzana’s statement concluded. —/mbmf
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it summoned China’s ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian over the Julian Felipe Reef issue.
In a statement, the DFA expressed displeasure over the “illegal lingering” presence of Chinese vessels in the said territory in the West Philippines Sea.
Through DFA Acting Undersecretary Elizabeth Buensuceso, the DFA stressed that Julian Felipe Reef lies within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of the Philippines.
The DFA also noted the ‘untoward statements’ of the Chinese Embassy spokesperson on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and reminded of the proper decorum and manners in the conduct of their duties as guests here in the Philippines.
The DFA reiterated the Philippines’ firm demand to China to immediately remove all of its vessels from Julian Felipe Reef and from other areas covered by the Philippine maritime zone.
‼️READ‼️ DFA Summons Chinese Ambassador, Expresses Utmost Displeasure over Julian Felipe Reef Issue
MANILA, Philippines – Chinese vessels at Julian Felipe reef seem unfazed by repeated calls to leave the area that is within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Thus, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. is likewise persistent in filing daily diplomatic protests against China until the latter removes its vessels from the Philippine territory.
On Wednesday (April 7) the Philippines lodged its third diplomatic protest against the communist government in relation to the incident at Julian Felipe Reef.
It was the National Task Force of the West Philippine Sea that revealed the presence of some 200 Chinese vessels in the reef, some 175 nautical miles from Palawan.
Despite days of exchanges on social media between the Department of National Defense and the Chinese Embassy in Manila, some of the vessels still remain in the area.
But according to former police chief now Senator Panfilo Lacson, a diplomatic protest seem futile since China has repeatedly ignored it.
“Diplomatic protests may not be too helpful anymore as China continues to ignore the same. Further, while it is a standard document used to call the attention of the other party, China’s consistent attitude of taking for granted such action taken by the DFA reduces it to a mere point of information,” Lacson said.
“That said, perhaps China would not be so dismissive if we and our allies, both in the Asia-Pacific and the west, show we can band together to maintain a balance of power in the region, including the West Philippine Sea,” he added.
Meanwhile, Representative Rufus Rodriguez called on the United States to constantly conduct maritime patrol in the West Philippine Sea to deter Chinese intrusion into Philippine territory.
“Two FON patrols in more than three months. They should criss-cross that area more often to challenge China’s claim over most of the South China Sea, including international waters and a large part of the Philippine EEZ,” Rodriguez said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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