Locsin to file ‘daily’ diplomatic protest vs China’s militia vessels in Julian Felipe Reef

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he will file diplomatic protests against China every day as long as they have a ship that stays on the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

“Firing another diplomatic protest. Everyday til the last one’s gone like it should be by now if it is really fishing,” Locsin said on Twitter.

In March, the DFA filed a diplomatic protest against China when it found that an estimated 220 Chinese ships were on the Julian Felipe Reef, which covers the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

From more than 200, the number of ships has dropped to more than 40.

The Chinese ambassador initially claimed that the ships were just spending bad weather in the area.

According to China, Julian Felipe Reef is part of their historical claim according to their nine-dash line map, even though the area is part of the Philippine exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Julian Felipe Reef, called Niu’e Jiao by the Chinese is located 175 nautical miles from Bataraza, Palawan.

Locsin to file ‘daily’ diplomatic protest vs China’s militia vessels in Julian Felipe Reef

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also issued a strong statement against China, insisting that their ship should leave Julian Felipe Reef.

Lorenzana believes that militias or civilians who are military accomplices are aboard Chinese ships and that is not really their real purpose in the area.

“I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no other reason to stay there. These vessels should be on their way out. Umalis na kayo diyan,” Lorenzana said.

Meanwhile, House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday asked the United States to frequent its freedom of navigation patrols in the West Philippine Sea amid the continued presence of Chinese militia vessel in Julian Felipe Reef.

“They should criss-cross that area more often to challenge China’s claim over most of the South China Sea, including international waters and a large part of the Philippine EEZ,” Rodriguez said in a press statement.

“They should support their statements of support for the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea dispute with actual actions on the ground,” he added.