Harsh language is a new chapter in a lethargic quarrel between the two countries for weeks. Manila reported that hundreds of Chinese boats are illegally staying in the Philippine Sea area near Palawan Island.
According to officials, the boats are not guarded by fishermen, but by armed militias. A Chinese spokesperson previously spoke of the fishermen “taking shelter from rough waters”.
Irritability is increasing in Manila. “What do you do for our friendship?” Twitter Locsin, known for being assertive. ‘You are. Not us. We are trying our best. You’re acting like an ugly whammy (…).
Southern Chinese Ocean
In the background lies a long-running dispute over ownership of the oil-rich South China Sea, in which many cargo ships sail. China claims nearly 90 percent of the area, a claim that is fiercely disputed by the other five littoral states, including the Philippines.
Five years ago, a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague undermined China’s claims, but Beijing is refusing to accept the ruling – a “rag”.
Countries like the Philippines and Vietnam are mourning how Beijing has expanded its presence at sea. China reclaimed coral reefs in Schiphol-sized swaths of land strewn with lighthouses, runways and military radar systems.
In addition, the conflict always leads to verbal (close) collisions. Chinese fishing boats also regularly sail in the exclusive economic zone of other countries. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs accused the Chinese Coast Guard on Monday of overshadowing, obstructing and wirelessly challenging the Philippine Coast Guard. According to Manila, there are also “dangerous maneuvers”.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said upon taking office in 2016 that he wanted to be pragmatic and give Chinese fishermen access to Philippine waters. Duterte’s decision was hot, as it was his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who brought the arbitration case against China in 2013.
Duterte has since reversed this decision, in part under pressure from public opinion. “There are things that cannot be waived,” he said last week when asked about the presence of Chinese ships.
Minister Luxen defended his assertive remarks on Twitter on Monday. Luxen replied, when someone said he had used “a student’s language” and that this was “a shame for his country”, “Really? But I get results and make sure my point is clear. (…) With the usual smooth diplomatic language, you can’t achieve anything.” , Except for a job in a multilateral institution after your ministry.
A spokesman for the ministry provided an explanation of its chief’s comments on Monday. “Because the measures are becoming more and more brutal, and the Chinese are coming more and more often and getting closer and closer, our reactions are getting fiercer as well.”
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