Since April, Beijing and Manila have been embroiled in a standoff over fishing grounds near South China Sea reefs claimed by both sides.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has used obscene language to berate Beijing for declining to withdraw its ships from the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc.
The top Philippine diplomat also referred to a UN arbitration against Beijing’s territorial claim on the “nine-dash line” covering most of the South China Sea, initiated by the Philippines in 2013.
Beijing refused to acknowledge the tribunal’s decision and refused to withdraw its forces from the area after the final ruling in 2016 stated that China had no historic rights to claim the “nine-dash line”.
The DFA urged China to withdraw its government vessels from Bajo de Masinloc and “respect Philippine sovereignty”. Beijing has not commented on Locsin’s remarks yet.
The developments came after the Philippines last month spotted unknown structures installed on a series of reefs in the South China Sea, where a spate of Chinese fishing vessels, allegedly manned by militias, was earlier tracked by Manila. The Philippine military said the structures were tracked during maritime patrols near the Whitsun Reef, stressing that the installation of the said structures runs counter to international law.
While Manila lodged a…