MANILA, Philippines — “The acts of the Chinese Coast Guard vessels are illegal. China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off.”
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin issued this statement reflecting his distaste in the recent standoff between the Philippine vessels and the Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal on Tuesday, November 16.
In a Twitter post, the DFA said three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two Philippine supply boats en route to transport food supplies to Philippine military personnel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).
No one was hurt in the encounter but the Philippine troops had to abort their resupply mission.
“I have conveyed in the strongest terms to H.E. Huang Xilian, Ambassador of China and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing our outrage, condemnation, and protest of the incident,” Secretary Locsin said.
“I reminded China that a public vessel is covered by the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty,” he added.
The DFA chief maintained that “Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.”
Locsin added that the Chinese Coast Guard’s failure to exercise self-restraint would eventually harm the special relationship between the two countries which President Rodrigo R. Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping have worked hard to nurture.
The Philippines, Locsin said, will continue to provide supplies to its military personnel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).
“We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory,” Locsin reiterated. —/mbmf