MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines filed diplomatic protests against China over 2 developments in the South China Sea that Manila assert as violations of the country's sovereignty and of international law, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Wednesday.
"At 5:17 pm today the Chinese embassy received 2 diplomatic protests: 1. on the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in PH waters & 2. declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province—both violations of international law & Philippine sovereignty," Locsin said on Twitter.
Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs worked on the protests “the whole day” and declined to discuss further details, saying “diplomatic notes are strictly confidential between the two states parties."
He added only the President can reveal the notes and “rule thereon.”
“I expect that no one else in the government will comment on it because they are not competent to do it. Only the President himself can reveal these notes of his alter ego the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and rule thereon,” Locsin said in another tweet.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday ordered the Philippine Navy to give him a detailed briefing on the radar gun incident.
"As announced by Secretary Locsin, the Department of Foreign Affairs filed a diplomatic protest, which was received by the Chinese embassy today, 22 April," he said in a statement.
China created 2 districts in the South China Sea, where, aside from Beijing and Manila, competing claims are also made by Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
China included a chain of islands belonging to the Philippines, a move that experts said should be protested in the international court.
The Philippines won an arbitration award in 2016 from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, declaring China's sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea as having no legal basis.
Beijing continues to disregard the landmark ruling. -- with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News