The Philippine foreign secretary on Thursday ordered that new diplomatic protests be filed against Beijing over the ongoing presence of more than 100 Chinese ships in waters claimed by Manila in the South China Sea.
Teodoro Locsin Jr., who is in the United States for an official visit, issued three messages via Twitter ordering the Department of Foreign Affairs to file the protests. The new diplomatic protests are the latest since the Philippines began filing daily protests against Chinese incursions in Manila’s exclusive economic zone in the sea earlier this year.
“File now our protest on China’s incessant & unlawful restriction of Filipino fishermen from conducting legitimate fishing activities in Bajo de Masinloc,” Locsin said, using the Philippine name for the Scarborough Shoal.
Manila considers Scarborough Shoal, a reef located 118 nautical miles (218.5 km) west of the main Philippine island of Luzon, to be within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In his other tweets, Locsin ordered protests on “Chinese radio challenges unlawfully issued against Philippine maritime patrols,” and on the “continued presence of Chinese fishing vessels in [the] vicinity of Iroquois Reef.”
Additional details about the Chinese ships were not released.
In early April, Locsin said the Philippines would file “daily diplomatic protests” with Beijing during a quarrel that began in March, when the Philippine military reported spotting more than 200 Chinese fishing boats which, it alleged, were manned by militia. The fishing boats later scattered, but security analysts said they may have moved to other parts of the disputed region.
BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service, could not immediately determine if the daily protests had stopped. Diplomats previously said that, for as long as there were Chinese incursions, the protests would continue.