Manila ‘fires off’ note verbale over Chinese swarming in WPS

MANILA Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. confirmed Wednesday that the Philippines fired off a note verbale against the reported swarming of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

Reacting to a news article quoting National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who said the Philippines is set to protest the presence of Chinese fishing vessels around Pag-asa Island in the Kalayaan Island Group, Locsin said: "Diplomatic protest fired off."

"I did. I listen only to military intelligence; I distrust civilian sources of 'misinformation,'" he said in a succeeding tweet when asked if Manila will file a note verbale based on Esperon's recommended "diplomatic action".

"When it comes to national security, I am the thinking trigger; the finger is the Commander-in-Chief and the Armed Forces are the protector of people and state," he added.

In a forum, Esperon said Chinese warships have passed through the Sibutu Strait without prior clearance from Manila.

Among others, he said at least 113 Chinese vessels have swarmed around the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island over the weekend.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo deferred to Locsin when asked to comment about the reported Chinese activity in the area and the filing of note verbale to Beijing. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency