The presence of around 240 Chinese vessels as reported by the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) has prompted Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to file on Wednesday another diplomatic protest before Beijing.
However, Locsin said that he is relying more on the news report of ABS-CBN on the presence of the Chinese vessels than an official report from the NTF-WPS.
“I haven’t heard anything from the f*cking NTF-WPS but I’ll take ABS-CBN News’s word for it. Changing my policy of acting only on NTF requests. @DFAPHL FIRE A DIPLOMATIC PROTEST NOW,” Locsin said over Twitter.
The 240 vessels are believed to be manned by Chinese militia.
The latest development came two days after the government summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian over the swarming of Chinese ships, in the area that is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
The Department of Foreign Affairs first lodged a note verbale over the amassing in Julian Felipe Reef on March 21 after some 200 Chinese vessels were spotted moored in line formation in the area. The number reportedly decreased to 44 ships based on a March 30 patrol by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The tiff intensified as the vessels continued to linger in the area, prompting the DFA to call out on April 5 the Chinese Embassy’s “blatant falsehoods” such as claims of adverse weather conditions when there were none. It then vowed to blast diplomatic protests “for every day of delay” to pull out their ships.