MANILA, Philippines — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has apologized for his profanity-laden message against China over the continued presence of its vessels in the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said Tuesday.
In an online briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Locsin told him about apologizing to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.
Locsin earlier told China in a tweet to “get the f*** out” of Philippine waters as he blasted the lingering presence of its vessels there.
But during a public address on Monday night, Duterte said that the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China is not a reason for Filipinos to be “rude and disrespectful.”
Roque said Duterte did not pressure Locsin to apologize and that he did it on his own.
“Kami po ay nagkausap ni Secretary Locsin, at pinaalam po niya sa akin na personal po siyang nag-apologize po sa Chinese ambassador at ang mga nabanggit niya pong salita ay dahil po sa mga bagay-bagay na naging dahilan para uminit ang kaniyang ulo,” he said.
But in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, Locsin clarified that his apology was only meant for his counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whom he described as his friend, and the “most intelligent and personable diplomat in the world.”
“To my friend Wang Yi only. Nobody else,” he said.
“Hindi sa Chinese ambassador. Trabaho niya ay tumanggap ng reklamo o insulto. Kay State Counselor Foreign Minister Wang Yi, ang pinaka matalino at personableng diplomat sa buong mundo,” he added.
To Roque, Locsin said, “Harry understands my hair-trigger temper under repeated provocation.”
Roque also said that the president has told his Cabinet officials that they should not use expletives and be disrespectful when it comes to issuing statements involving foreign diplomacy.
“Ang mensahe po ng presidente, sa larangan ng diplomasya, wala pong lugar ang pagmumura,” he said.
“At sabi po ng mensahe ng presidente sa lahat ng mga miyembro ng kaniyang gabinete, ang presidente lang ang pupwedeng magmura. Wala pong pupwedeng gumaya sa kaniya,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)