MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has lodged two diplomatic protests against China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea, accusing China of violating international law and Philippine sovereignty.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 22, 2020
“At 5:17 p.m. today, the Chinese Embassy received two diplomatic protests: 1. on the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in PH waters and 2. declaring parts of a Philippine territory as part of Hainan province,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Twitter on Wednesday (April 22).
A People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel pointed a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship near the Philippine-occupied Rizal Reef in the Kalayaan Island Group on Feb. 17, according to sources. Further details are not available as of posting time.
Last week, China announced that it had established two administrative units in the South China Sea as part of its latest move to establish full control of the disputed waters.
Vietnam has filed a diplomatic protest to express rage against Chinese aggression in the area.
The protest filed by the Philippines came as China has started using the coronavirus crisis for diplomacy by donating supplies and medical equipment.
“I expect that no one else in the government will comment on it because they are not competent to do it,” said Locsin’s tweet.
“Only the President himself can reveal these notes of his alter ego the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and rule thereon,” it said.
In another move to bully its way in the disputed waters, China has also named 80 geographical features in the Spratly Islands and Paracels.
A Chinese government survey ship, Haiyang Dizhi 8 escorted by China Coast Guard vessels, have been tagging Malaysia’s state oil company Petronas as it conducts exploratory drilling near Malaysian waters.
A Chinese maritime patrol aircraft was also spotted early this month on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef during a training exercise.
Vietnam also filed a protest early April after China rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracels.
The 2016 decision by the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in the Hague ruled that Beijing’s claims have no basis and its South China Sea construction frenzy was illegal.
China in recent years had transformed reefs and islands into outposts fitted and equipped with harbors, airstrips, missile shelters, communications facilities which expanded its ability to monitor its and rivals’ activities in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims to almost entirely own.
The United States has accused Beijing of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to establish full military presence in the South China Sea and control sea lanes.
Edited by TSB
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