Filipino Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin speaks at a press conference after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, China, on March 20, 2019.
Andrea Verdelli | Getty Images
Filipino Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr. slammed China on Twitter Monday in decidedly undiplomatic language, suggesting that the Asian giant was “fed up” as the two countries are embroiled in a war of words over the South China Sea.
Locsin in the tweet accused China of tainting its “friendship” with the Philippines. The foreign minister was a vocal critic of China in the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who sought closer ties with Beijing after taking office in 2016.
China’s embassy in Manila, the Philippine capital, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
In response to criticism of his rhetoric from other Twitter users, Locsin said: “Usual polite diplomatic speaking does nothing. “
The Philippines and China have for years contested overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich waterway with a total area of approximately 1.4 million square miles, on which trillions of dollars of world trade pass. Beijing has shown itself to be more assertive in the disputed waters over the past year.
Locsin’s Monday tweet followed a statement from the Filipino Foreign Departmentwho protested the “illegal presence” of Chinese ships in parts of the South China Sea recognized internationally as belonging to the Philippines.
The statement dealt with “warlike actions” by the Chinese Coast Guard against their Filipino counterparts near Bajo de Masinloc. The Chinese were said to have dealt with “shadows, blocking, dangerous maneuvers and radio challenges” from April 24-25.
She also protested the “incessant, illegal, persistent and increasing presence of Chinese finishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine sea zones”.
Beijing last week claimed it “enjoys sovereignty” via Bajo de Masinloc – which it calls Huangyan Island – and its surrounding waters. She urged the Philippines not to escalate disputes.
Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal, is a chain of reefs in the South China Sea located approximately 120 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine coast and 470 nautical miles from the nearest coast of China.
China claims most of the South China Sea based on nine lines that demarcate Chinese territory on historical maps.
In 2016, an international tribunal dismissed the so-called nine-dash line as legally unfounded – a decision that Beijing ignored.