The Philippine foreign minister on Monday demanded in an expletive-laced Twitter message that China’s vessels get out of disputed waters, the latest exchange in a war of words with Beijing over the South China Sea.
The comments by Teodoro Locsin, known for blunt remarks, follow Manila’s protests for what it calls the “illegal” presence of hundreds of Chinese boats inside the Philippines’ 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). “China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F**K OUT,” Locsin tweeted on his personal account.
“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.
China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Chinese officials have previously said the vessels at the disputed Whitsun Reef were fishing boats taking refuge from rough seas.
Responding to a request for comment, a spokeswoman for the US State Department reiterated a March 28 statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying the US “stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of (China’s) maritime militia pressure in the South China Sea.”
“As we have stated before, an armed attack against the Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will trigger our obligations under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” the spokeswoman added.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion of shipborne trade passes each year. In 2016, an arbitration tribunal in The Hague ruled the claim was inconsistent with international law.