MANILA, Philippines — “Then tell them to move out. All of them.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. had this to say after the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China does not plan to keep a “permanent presence” at the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in the West Philippine Sea, where Chinese vessels continue to stay.
“If they’re really fishing the fish are all gone; they’re just fouling the water with waste. Nobody fishes by lashing ships together. Last time that was done was the Persian invasion of Greece recorded by Herodotus,” Manila’s top diplomat tweeted late Wednesday.
Then tell them to move out. All of them. If they’re really fishing the fish are all gone; they’re just fouling the water with waste. Nobody fishes by lashing ships together. Last time that was done was the Persian invasion of Greece recorded by Herodotus. We’ve seen the movie. https://t.co/2H121qMIlf
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 7, 2021
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian maintained that the reef is part of Nansha Qundao, one of two political districts in the South China Sea established by the Chinese government in 2020.
“The reef and the waters around it have always been an important fishing ground and shelter for Chinese fishermen. It is completely normal for Chinese fishing vessels to fish in the waters and take shelter during rough sea conditions,” Zhao had said.
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has already rejected China’s assertion that the reef is part of its “traditional fishing grounds.”
“Tradition yields to the law whether or not it is regarded as traditional fishing,” the DFA said in a statement on April 5 as it cited the July 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which ruled in favor of the Philippines and invalidated China’s expansive nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
On Wednesday, the Philippines began filing daily diplomatic protests against the continued presence of the Chinese vessels at the Julian Felipe Reef which is inside the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
This, after Manila earlier demanded that Beijing pull out its fishing vessels and maritime assets in the area or face a diplomatic protest “every day of delay” in the removal of the ships.