Secretary Locsin warns China of ‘severest response’ if military drills spill over to PHL territory

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has warned China of “severest response” if Chinese military exercises from July 1 to 5 in waters of Paracel Islands will spill over to Philippine territory.

“The Chinese naval military exercises, if they stick to their coordinates, do not impinge on Philippine territory. These exercises are taking place in waters of Xisha Islands, the Paracels, which Vietnam claims sovereignty,” Secretary Locsin said.

“Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory, then China is forewarned that it will be met with the severest response, diplomatic and whatever else is appropriate,” he said.

The foreign affairs secretary also noted that the Philippines recently protested the establishment of Paracel and Spratly districts under administrative jurisdiction of Sansha City.

He also called on parties to “refrain from escalating tension and abide by the responsibilities under the international law, notably UNCLOS.”

“We urge them to adhere to the rule of law and their commitments to international instruments such as the 2002 Declaration of the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea, particularly the exercise of self restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, specially in this pandemic,” Locsin said.