South China Sea: Foreign Minister calls on Beijing to “break up”

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Manila | The Philippine foreign minister on Monday called on Chinese ships patrolling the South China Sea to leave the disputed area, using a foul-mouthed expression.

“China, my friend, how can I say it politely?” Let me see… GET OUT, ”Teodoro Locsin tweeted.

The warning comes as tensions escalated in early March when hundreds of Chinese boats were detected in the exclusive economic zone of Manila.

On several occasions, Beijing has refused to recall its boats and for its part, Manila has stepped up its patrols in the area.

Mr. Locsin often uses bad language on Twitter. He defended his latest outing by asserting that “the usual polite diplomatic language leads nowhere.”

The warning comes after the Philippine Foreign Ministry accused the Chinese coastguard of “belligerent activities” against the Philippine vessels currently patrolling near the fish reef of Scarborough, controlled by China but also claimed by Manila .

The Philippine ministry formally challenged the actions of Chinese boats towards the Philippine coast guard during patrols and maneuvers near the reef in March.

According to him, the presence of these boats constitutes “a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Philippines”.

Asked by AFP, the Chinese embassy in Manila declined to comment.

This reef is located 230 kilometers from Luzon, the main island of the Philippines.

Beijing took control in 2012 and has always ignored a decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), based in The Hague (Netherlands), which in 2016 had ruled in Manila, considering that Beijing does not had no “historic right” to this strategic sea.

Relations between Beijing and Manila have improved under the tenure of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is trying to get his country out of the fold of the United States, a former colonial power, and to strengthen its economic cooperation with Beijing.

Last week, Duterte asserted that he would not end patrols in the South China Sea, arguing that his country’s sovereignty in the area is non-negotiable.