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AFP
May 4, 2021

Philippines’ top diplomat tells nation to leave disputed waters

World

AFP
May 4, 2021

MANILA: The Philippines’ top diplomat unambiguously told Beijing where to go on Monday, as the government insisted Chinese vessels were still illegally lingering in the disputed South China Sea.

"China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see... O... get the f..k out," Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin tweeted. The latest spat between Manila and Beijing over the resource-rich waters -- which China claims almost entirely -- flared up in March after hundreds of Chinese boats were spotted inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

China has refused repeated calls from the Philippines to withdraw the boats, and tensions have intensified as Manila steps up maritime patrols in the area. Locsin frequently uses strong language on Twitter and defended his latest outburst by saying: "Usual suave diplomatic speak gets nothing done."

He also likened China to "an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend". The order came as his foreign affairs department accused China’s coastguard of "belligerent actions" against Filipino boats involved in maritime drills near the contested Scarborough Shoal.

China-controlled Scarborough is one of the region’s richest fishing grounds and a flashpoint between the two countries, which have rival claims. The department said it has lodged a diplomatic protest over the Chinese vessels’ actions towards the Southeast Asian country’s coastguard during patrols and training exercises near the reef last month.

The department said the presence of the Chinese boats was a "blatant infringement of Philippine sovereignty". China’s foreign ministry said "megaphone diplomacy" would "undermine mutual trust" and urged Locsin to conform to diplomatic etiquette. Scarborough Shoal is 240 kilometres (150 miles) west of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon.