Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. confirmed Thursday that the Philippine government filed a diplomatic protest over the passage of some Chinese warships in Philippine waters.
“They’re just fired off, that’s it,” he told the media in an interview. Locsin did not provide additional details, saying he prefers to discuss the issue with the Philippine Army.
“You know how I feel about speaking to the civilian media, I speak only to the army. Really, that’s the best,” he said. “I’ve already described my foreign policy as the fist in the iron glove of the army.”
The Western Mindanao Command earlier reported that five Chinese naval vessels passed through Sibutu Strait in the waters of Tawi-Tawi — four of which were recorded in July and the last on August 4.
The unauthorized passage compelled President Rodrigo R. Duterte to issue an order, instructing all foreign vessels passing through the Philippines’ territorial waters to get a clearance “well in advance”.
It is not clear whether the issue will be brought up by Duterte, who is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, when he visits China anew.
When asked about Duterte’s agenda on his China trip, Locsin said the government was still “working on” it. PNA