DFA to protest presence of Chinese ships near Ayungin Shoal

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday ordered the filing of a diplomatic protest against the reported presence of Chinese vessels near the Ayungin Shoal, a feature within the country’s Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea.

“I’m in Moscow. Do I have to fly home to file the goddamned diplomatic protest myself? File now!” Locsin said on his official Twitter account.

The order comes following the Philippine military’s report that some Chinese vessels sailed near Second Thomas Shoal or the Ayungin Shoal, an area being manned by Filipino soldiers aboard the BRP Sierra Madre.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Noel Clement was quoted as saying that “the mere presence there, if there is no request for passage prior to that, will have to be reported.”

But whether it is a violation or not “will be up to our Department of Foreign Affairs,” Clement said.

Last May, a Chinese vessel also blocked three Philippine civilian ships that were on a resupply mission to the BRP Siera Madre, an “objectionable” action recently flagged by Malacañang. PNA.GOV.PH