“Wang, you’re reading too much into a simple directive not to join these naval exercises in the CSC at this time,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a Twitter post after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin commented on President Rodrigo Duterte standing order to the military not to join navies of other countries in maritime drills in South China Sea.
“The Philippine position has been “consistent and clear.” What is ours is ours under the Arbitral Award and no one else can tell us different. Our relations have been going really well. Let’s keep it that way. We’re sitting out this one, we don’t know if we will the next one. Okay?” Secretary Locsin added.
On August 3, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said “President Rodrigo Duterte has a standing order to us, to me, that we should not involve ourselves in naval exercises in the South China Sea except our national waters, the 12 mile distance from our shores.”
“If one country’s action is considered as belligerent, another tension will normally rise, so I hope that all the parties in this exercise will have, will work on their actions there, to exercise prudence and carefulness so that there will be no miscalculations that could further increase the tension,” Secretary Lorenzana added.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang said on August 5 that “This statement once again reflects the independent foreign policy of the Philippines and the common aspiration of countries in the region to pursue peace and development. This fully demonstrates that certain non-regional countries’ attempt to stir up trouble and create tension in the South China Sea goes against the will of regional countries and is unpopular.”