(UPDATE) The Philippines' top diplomat on Monday told China to "get the f*ck out" of its waters as Manila fired a fresh diplomatic protest over Beijing's moves in the Scarborough Shaol.
Calling Beijing a "friend," Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. questioned what China is doing with its "friendship" with the Philippines as it refuses to heed Manila's call to pull out its ships from the West Philippine Sea.
"China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F*CK OUT. What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province," Locsin said in a tweet.
"He doesn’t have a uterus. If he tried to give birth to a Chinese province it would be a ball of crap at best and the end of the regime," he added.
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Locsin also reiterated Manila's victory in a United Nations Arbitral Tribunal, which invalidated Beijing's sweeping claims in the disputed waters.
Beijing, however, has largely ignored the UN Arbitral Tribunal's 2016 ruling in favor of Manila, ramping up its militarization in the disputed waters.
"What is it so hard to understand about Duterte’s UN declaration that the Arbitral Award made all maritime features Philippines; no one else’s?" Locsin said.
Manila said Monday it protested the "belligerent" actions of the Chinese coast guard against the Philippine Coast Guard in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), where it enjoys sovereignty and jurisdiction.
The DFA accused the Chinese ships of "shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges" in the area on April 24 to 25. Bajo de Masinloc is a ring-shaped coral reef with rocks jutting out of the water, encircling a lagoon that is rich in fish.
While Bajo de Masinloc is within the Philippines' continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, China has had effective control over it since a 2012 naval standoff that served as one of the catalysts of Manila's legal challenge to Beijing's vast claims in the South China Sea. A UN-backed arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines but China refused to recognize it.
"The Philippines' conduct of maritime patrols and training exercises in these areas is a legitimate and routine act of a sovereign country in its territory and territorial waters and is part of the Philippines' administrative responsibility," the DFA said.
"The Philippines calls on China to withdraw its government vessels around the KIG and Bajo de Masinloc and respect Philippine Sovereignty," it said. China's claim of "sovereignty" is without basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the ministry said.
KIG is the Kalayaan Island Group or Spratlys, also within the Philippines EEZ, where Chinese militia and fishing vessels have been locked in a standoff with Philippine ships since March.
The DFA also protested the presence of Chinese militia vessels around Pag-Asa Island, Zamora Reef, Panata and Kota Islands, Ayungin Shoal, Quirino Atoll, and Scarborough Shoal, from January 1 to March 18, 2021. The DFA said China has no law enforcement rights over these areas.
Also on Sunday, Chinese state media reported that its aircraft carrier, Shandong, was in the South China Sea for "sovereignty drills." Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines would stand its ground, saying in Filipino, "We will not leave (Walang alisan)."
Lorenzana also released a rare video on Facebook to tell the public that he doesn't clash with President Rodrigo Duterte on China, insisting that he even echoes the chief executive's statements.
Lorenzana, a retired Army general, had talked tough against Beijing for refusing to pull out its ships from reefs that are within the Philippines exclusive economic zone. Duterte, in his most recent public address, said Manila had a debt of geratitude to Beijing for vaccines, but would not compromise sovereignty.
"President Duterte's orders to us have been very clear, firm and straightforward. Defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas. Yung nagsasabi na hindi kami aligned ng Presidente, let me clarify that my pronouncement echo the stand of our presidente," he said in a Facebook video.
China flexes muscle
China said the group of its aircraft carrier, Shandong, was recently in the South China Sea for drills aimed at asserting "sovereignty" as a standoff with the Philippines dragged.
It was a routine exercise, Gao Xiucheng, a Navy spokesperson for the People's Liberation Army, told state-run CGTN television. Gao did not specifiy the area where the training took place.
“It is completely legitimate and beneficial in improving the country’s ability to uphold national sovereignty and security,” Gao was quoted in a statement.
Last week, the Philippine Coast Guard held drills in disputed waters, prompting a warning from Beijing against "complicating" the situation. Since April, Philippine and Chinese ships have been locked in a standoff over fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea, which is engulfed by what China claims as its own, the South China Sea.
Lorenzana last week said the reefs and islands that Beijing claims, despite falling within Manila's EEZ or exclusive economic zone, belong to the Philippines.
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China has refused to pull out its ships from reefs inside the Philippines' EEZ despite daily diplomatic protests and summons on its ambassador to Manila.
China is claiming almost the entire South China Sea, overlapping with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia. Some $3.4 million worth of trade passes through the disputed waters annually and Washington has expressed concern over Beijing's actions in the region.
The Chinese government also refuses to recognize a UN court's ruling that favored the Philippines and invalidated its vast claims.
While the Philippines has filed numerous diplomatic protests over China's actions that endangered the lives of Filipino fishermen, Beijing has built artificial islands over the disputed reefs.