After the Philippines’ foreign minister used an expletive-laced Twitter message to demand that China’s vessels leave disputed waters, China urged the Philippines to follow “pure etiquette” and avoid megaphone diplomacy.
Teodoro Locsin’s remarks come in the wake of Manila’s protests over what it terms the unauthorized presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels inside the Philippines’ 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
China’s foreign ministry issued a statement urging the Philippines to respect the country’s sovereignty and authority and refrain from acts that aggravate the situation.
“Facts have repeatedly shown that microphone diplomacy does not alter the facts, but rather undermines mutual confidence,” the report said.
“It is hoped that when making remarks, relevant people in the Philippines would adhere to simple etiquette and their position.”
According to the ministry, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines said that disagreements between the countries on individual issues should not affect friendship and cooperation.
“China has always worked with the Philippines to properly address differences and advance cooperation through friendly consultations, and will continue to do so.”
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, which sees around $3 trillion in annual ship traffic. An arbitration tribunal in the Hague ruled in 2016 that the company’s claim was illegal under international law.
“I won’t use the last provocation as an excuse for losing it,” Locsin said on Twitter on Tuesday, referring to China’s top diplomat. “But if Wang Yi is following Twitter, then I’m sorry for hurting his feelings, but they are his alone.”
In matters of diplomacy, Duterte has reminded his officials that cursing is not permitted. At a daily news conference, his spokesman, Harry Roque, said, “Only the President can cuss.”