The Philippines’ conflict in the West Philippine Sea is only with China and not with the other claimants in the area, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Tuesday.
He dismissed suggestions that the Philippines is in conflict with the other claimants who had taken features before the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas was adopted.
He agreed with the position of former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio, a long-time advocate of the Philippines’ sovereignty in the disputed waters.
“To make it even clearer: When Viet fishermen poach in our EEZ though close to the features they claim, we arrest them and let them go in the spirit of amity, because VIETNAM IS NOT TRYING TO TAKE WHAT'S OURS.
“So Carpio is 1,000-percent correct: Our only conflict in the SCS/WPS [South China Sea/West Philippine Sea] is with China.
“SO ANY SUGGESTION THAT WE ARE AS MUCH IN CONFLICT WITH the other claimants of features they had taken well before UNCLOS was adopted to confer EEZs IS PURE BULLSHET AND PATHETIC, TRYING TO EXCUSE SOFT-PEDALING APPROACH TO YIELDING WHAT'S OURS. NO WAY HOSAY!!”
China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan have competing claims in the South China Sea.
The Philippines calls the part of the South China Sea it claims as the West Philippine Sea.
In 2016, an International arbitration court ruled that China's sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea has no legal basis. But Beijing disagreed and disregarded the landmark decision.
At a House budget hearing on Monday, Locsin said there was no need to file diplomatic protests against the other claimants in the South China Sea that had no active conflicts with the Philippines.
Manila has filed several diplomatic protests against Beijing this year for declaring portions of Philippine territory as part of a Chinese province and for naming some features in the Kalayaan Island Group.