China has again sought to ease tensions with the Philippines over its
, saying it is not aimed at the Southeast Asian nation or any other country, according to Manila’s top envoy in Beijing.
He was responding to a question about whether the Philippines should summon the Chinese ambassador over the law, which took effect this month and explicitly authorises pre-emptive strikes against foreign vessels in waters claimed by China.
“The Chinese have tried to reassure that they will still exercise restraint,” he added.
“We have followed the coastguard law,” he said. “Though [the fast-tracking of the legislation] is surprising to most people, [the language] is actually more moderate than the first version when we first reported that the Chinese were considering it.”
But he said the Philippines opposed the law being applied to all waters claimed by China.
As explained in our diplomatic note to the foreign ministry in China, we have objection to the language regarding the use of force and particularly the possible application of this law in areas we consider beyond China’s territory or within our EEZ [exclusive economic zone].”
The Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest after the legislation was passed, with foreign minister Teodoro Locsin calling it “a verbal threat of war to any country that defies it”.
Last week, he again warned there could be serious consequences. “So far there has been no incident,” Locsin told ABS-CBN News Channel in the Philippines. “If there is an incident, I can assure you there will be more than just a protest.”
Retired Philippine Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio said earlier that Manila should raise Beijing’s coastguard law along with other Southeast Asian countries at the United Nations, a proposal that was dismissed by Locsin. Carpio was involved in
China sought to improve ties with the Philippines soon
Sta. Romana on Tuesday said the Philippines was “high” on China’s vaccine priority list for developing countries. “We’re trying to ensure this, through diplomatic conversations with Chinese officials, that these will be delivered as scheduled,” he said.