MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's policy towards China is "the opposite of appeasement," his top diplomat said Tuesday after a former Supreme Court justice warned that Beijing can soon put up air and naval bases in contested waters.
Manila fires off a diplomatic note for "every transgression and incursion made by the Chinese or even just a suspicion," said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
"You're looking at the opposite of appeasement right now," he told ANC.
"The President brings this up himself with President Xi. Sometimes, it's not so well-received. There was one time when he brought it up that I said, sir, perhaps you shouldn't bring it up at this moment. He did. The reception was very cold but he does bring it up," he said.
While Chinese officials "don't always answer it on point", a diplomatic protest asserts "what we won in the Hague tribunal," Locsin said, referring to a United Nation-backed court's 2016 ruling that junked Beijing's sweeping claims to the South China Sea.
China has refused to recognize the ruling of the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The Asian giant will "very soon" put up air and naval bases on Scarborough Shoal, in the next step to its air defense identification zone, retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said was quoted by CNN Philippines.
"The strategy of Philippines under President Duterte is also clear. The Philippines will never offend China. The Philippines will always appease China," he said in the report.
"We have set aside the arbitral ruling but the expected amount of loans have not materialized. Our strategy to defend the West Philippine Sea is in total disarray."
Carpio is "deliberately misinformed," said Locsin.