China is upping the ante in the South China Sea (SCS) region and its ties with Philippine may now run into rough weather. The moves are being made simultaneously with Beijing’s belligerence along LAC and despite ASEAN strong emphasis on UNCLOS in SCS.
On Friday the Philippine foreign secretary warned China of “the severest response” if ongoing Chinese military exercises in the disputed South China Sea spill over into Philippine territory.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said China’s People’s Liberation Army has been staging exercises off the Paracel Islands since July 1 and Chinese maritime officials have prohibited all vessels from navigating within the area of the manoeuvres, according to a report in the Associated Press or AP.
“After checking the coordinates of the Chinese-declared no-entry zone where the maneuvers were being staged, Locsin said the waters off the Paracels, which are also claimed by Vietnam, “do not impinge on Philippine territory” but it was still a concern,” according to the AP report.
“Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory, then China is forewarned that it will be met with the severest response, diplomatic and whatever else is appropriate,” Locsin said in a statement.
The Philippine warning to China is the strongest since upswing in ties under President Rodrigo Duterte who took office in 2016.