Philippines

‘Megaphone diplomacy’ only recourse left in dealing with China’s ‘illegal acts’ in WPS — Drilon

Some of the about 220 vessels reported by the Philippine Coast Guard are pictured at Whitsun Reef, South China Sea

Some of the about 220 Chinese vessels reported by the Philippine Coast Guard, and believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel, are pictured at Whitsun Reef, South China Sea, March 7, 2021. Picture taken March 7, 2021. Philippine Coast Guard/National Task Force-West Philippine Sea/Handout via REUTERS.

MANILA, Philippines — Resorting to “megaphone diplomacy” may be the only recourse left for the Philippines at this point in dealing with China’s “illegal acts” in the West Philippine Sea, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said.

The Philippines should continue exposing China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea and remind the world that Beijing “is not following the rule of law but the rule of might,” Drilon said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday.

“I would rather that we continue with the megaphone diplomacy because of the gunboat diplomacy of China,” he said.

“We must continue to expose these illegal acts of China and that is why, megaphone diplomacy, as the Chinese Foreign Ministry, would call it, this may be the appropriate course that we have to take so that we can keep China on its toes insofar as the world forum is concerned,” he added.

Earlier, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the Philippines should not engage in “megaphone diplomacy” after Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. issued a profanity-laced tweet in demanding China to get out of Philippines waters.

But Drilon backed Locsin’s remark against China and pointed out that it only reflects the sentiments of the Filipino public, who he said have grown “frustrated” over the West Philippine Sea issue.

“We are also frustrated by what China is doing,” the minority leader said.

Locsin has already apologized to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi about his tweet, saying he does not want to lose his friendship with China’s top diplomat.

The country’s top diplomat said his expletive-laden tweet was just an “outburst of temper” due to “repeated provocations” by China, assuring it “won’t happen again.”

‘Keep issue alive’

Drilon, meanwhile, surmised that China is not taking the issues raised by the Philippine side seriously due to the Asian country’s military and economic strength.

“They keep on confronting us with armed might in the Philippine sea, driving away our fishermen, ramming a fishing boat, and clearly this is because of their superior strength,” he said.

“That is why I’m saying maybe the only recourse left to us is the megaphone diplomacy in order to keep this issue alive in this world forum otherwise if we just keep quiet, wala nang mangyayari sa atin,” he added.

Manila and Beijing have been locked in a long-standing maritime dispute.

In 2013, the Philippines filed a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in challenging China’s sweeping claim of nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.

The Hague-based court, however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016 invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim. Beijing has repeatedly refused to recognize the ruling.

EDV

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