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MANILA: A top Philippine diplomat has told Beijing uncertainly where to go on Monday, as the government insists Chinese ships are patrolling the disputed South China Sea illegally.
Foreign Secretary Theodore Lucson tweeted, “China, my friend, how politely can I keep it? Look at me … oh … talk about it.” The latest fog between Manila and Beijing on resource-rich waters – which China claims – erupted in March after hundreds of Chinese boats were found inside the Philippine Special Economic Zone.
China has denied repeated calls from the Philippines to withdraw its boats, and Manila has stepped up tensions in the region by increasing maritime patrols. Lucson often uses harsh language on Twitter, defending his recent protests, saying: “Diplomatic speech usually doesn’t do anything.”
He also likened China to “an ugly bird that forces you to pay attention to a handsome man who wants to make friends with a handsome man.” The order came after its State Department accused China’s coastguard of “fighting” against Filipino boats involved in naval exercises near the Scarborough Shawwal.
The Chinese-controlled Scarborough is the region’s richest fishing base and a flashpoint between the two countries, with rival claims. The department said it had filed a diplomatic protest against the southeast Asian coast guard of Chinese ships last month over measures taken in connection with patrols and training exercises near the reef.
The department said the presence of Chinese boats was a “clear violation of Philippine sovereignty.” China’s foreign ministry said “megaphone diplomacy” would “undermine mutual trust” and called on Luxen to adhere to diplomatic etiquette. Scarborough Shoal is located 240 kilometers (150 miles) west of the main island of Lausanne in the Philippines.