‘Agree totally’: Locsin says gov’t should contest China facility on PH-claimed reef


Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he agreed “totally” with a call to contest China’s construction efforts in the Kagitingan Reef in the West Philippine Sea. File/Malacañang Photo
MANILA—Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Saturday said he agreed “totally” with a call to contest China’s construction efforts on the Kagitingan Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

Locsin responded to an ABS-CBN News story, in which Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio said the government must defend the territory where China was reportedly building a maritime rescue center.

Carpio, a known advocate of Manila’s rights in the disputed waters, said the government should file a note verbale over China’s building of a maritime rescue center in the reef.

Locsin, however, assured Carpio that the administration protests China’s activities in the disputed sea.

Philippines taking ‘diplomatic actions’ vs China over South China Sea activities

“SAJ Carpio, we’re doing that; 18 or 19 so far. No fanfare though; protest is intended for the Chinese not for hysterics in Manila who, sadly, are not foreigners but good God Filipinos so no need to CC protest to them. It gets in the way of diplomacy,” he said.

Locsin added that he would prefer to engage China “openly on the floor of the UN General Assembly.”

Malacañang earlier said the Philippines should perhaps be “thankful” for the maritime rescue center.

Palace says PH should be ‘thankful’ China built rescue center on PH-claimed reef
The Philippines and China had long sparred over the South China Sea, but relations have improved considerably under President Rodrigo Duterte.

China has assured the Philippines it will not occupy new features or territory in the South China Sea, under a new “status quo” brokered by Manila as both sides try to strengthen their relations.