The Philippine government through Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., has filed a diplomatic protest against China for passing a law that will allow its coast guard to fire at foreign vessels it considers violating its territorial integrity in the South China Sea.
The new law instructs the Chinese Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”
In a tweet, Secretary Locsin said: “After reflection I fired a diplomatic protest. While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one—given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea—is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it”.
This came just days after the foreign secretary said China’s passage of the law was “none of our business.”
“[I]t is China’s business what laws it passes; so please a little self-restraint,” he said in a tweet Monday.
Philippine senators have already sounded the alarm over China’s new law with Senator Richard Gordon describing it as a “creeping threat that can escalate any time.”
Senator Francis Tolentino, meanwhile, said he worries for Filipino fishermen, who are possibly still not aware of this legislation recently adopted in Beijing.
China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including waters within the exclusive economic zones of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines (the West Philippine Sea), Vietnam, and Taiwan.
In July 2016, the Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim, a ruling that Beijing refuses to recognize. (Source: INQUIRER.net)