Locsin thumbs down plan to have Coast Guard attaché in Washington

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2020 11:54 PM

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. speaks to the media at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City, Metro Manila, March 1, 2019. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters/File

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday rejected the proposal of the Philippine Coast Guard to designate a Coast Guard attaché in the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC. 

In a tweet, Locsin said the application came after he rejected a similar move to designate a Coast Guard attaché in the Philippine Embassy in Beijing. 

He sees no need for the post, saying the Philippines doesn’t share a coastline with the US.

“The Philippine Coast Guard applied for a Coast Guard attache IN Washington after I flatly rejected one FOR Beijing. The Washington request is likewise rejected and don't ever go behind my back. We don't share a coastline with the US like Canada does. So no, nunca, never,” Locsin said.

In rejecting the proposed post in Beijing, Locsin earlier said that having a Coast Guard attaché there would mean conceding exclusive sovereignty over Philippine coastal waters “so they are now subject to discussion instead of automatic protest.” He added there was already a defense attaché for national defense issues.

In the case of the proposed post in Washington, Locsin said free foreign passage through sovereign waters “requires repeated permission.”

“No law enjoins, no power compels free foreign passage through sovereign waters. Custom allows but courtesy requires repeated permission. We may declare a few archipelagic sea lanes but never so many as to turn over our maritime space to the nearest great naval power,” he said.

“To argue…that another farther naval power may use them also is mentally dishonest because it costs billions of dollars to start and sail a fleet from across the Pacific or even the Sea of Japan. In naval war time is power when short and weakness when long. So no way,” he added.