MANILA - Manila must file another diplomatic protest against Beijing over Chinese ships "trespassing" in Philippine waters, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Monday.
Locsin, in a tweet, told his department's Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs to "drop the diplomatic crap" after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana questioned the unannounced passage of 9 Chinese warships in Sibutu Strait in the Philippines' southern tip.
"Fire diplomatic protest over Chinese warship; drop the diplomatic crap; say it is ours period; they're trespassing. If we did it already fire another. We won't run out. And don't wait for formal intel. This is the Secretary of National Defense no less. Fire at will," he said.
The Philippines earlier protested the passage of Chinese warships through Sibutu Strait without prior clearance, and the swarm of 113 Chinese vessels around Filipino-occupied Pag-asa Island.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, any foreign vessel may be allowed to cross a coastal state’s territorial waters without notifying the state if they are conducting innocent passage, or movement in a straight path heading back out to sea.
Lorenzana said the Chinese warships' passage were "not so innocent anymore."
“I think it's not innocent anymore, dahil palagi na 'yan eh. Palagi na 'yang ginagawa eh. 'Saka why don’t they inform us? Ano ba 'yung 'huy, daan kami, makikiraan po.' Ganun lang naman 'yun sa'tin diba? Why the secrecy?” he said.
(I think it's not innocent anymore because they have done it often. They've been doing it. And why don’t they inform us? They can say, 'hey, we'll be passing through, please excuse us.' Why the secrecy?)