The Philippines said Saturday it fired off another diplomatic protest against China, telling it to get out of Pag-Asa island, Manila's stronghold in the West Philippine Sea.
The protest filed on Friday cited the "incessant deployment, prolonged presence, and illegal activities of Chinese maritime assets and fishing vessels" in Pag-Asa, the DFA said.
Pag-Asa in Palawan's Kalayaan municipality is the largest Filipino-occupied feature in the Spratlys that is within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone or EEZ, but China claims as its own, even as a UN tribunal ruled that its assertion was unfounded.
The Philippines has filed several protests against China for keeping militia and fishing vessels off reefs and outcrops that are within Manila's EEZ. The months-long standoff put on the spotlight President Rodrigo Duterte's policy on China.
Duterte shifted the blame on the state of affairs on the West Philippine Sea to the government of his predecessor, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who initiated the country's winning case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
The incumbent had said the while the country was indebted to China for anti-COVID vaccines and aid, this should not be the basis for a "compromise" on the West Philippine Sea.
"Hindi talaga ako aatras. Patayin mo man ako kung patayin mo ako, dito ako. Dito magtatapos ang ating pagkakaibigan," Duterte said public address on May 14.
WEST PHILIPPINE SEA, EXPLAINED