Foreign affairs chief claims he 'fired off salvo of diplomatic notes' against China

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 2) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr. said Tuesday he "fired off (a) salvo of diplomatic notes" against China over the swarming of its vessels in Philippine waters.

In a Twitter post responding to a blogger's tweet, Locsin said he sent the diplomatic notes to Beijing before his first official trip there on March 18 to 21.

"Before going to successful China visit I fired off salvo of diplomatic notes so I would not be accused of insincerity if, as suggested, I fired them off after the visited (which) is sioki. Instructed shot over massing of moving vessels because circling establishes nothing," Locsin said.

The blogger in the tweet asked for confirmation of diplomatic protests against China over the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island, which is part of the hotly contested Spratly Island group in the West Philippine Sea.

Hours later, he posted again: "I sent notes verbales versus swarming before my China trip. You have my word on it and that is all you all get. Manigas na kayo nag da-doubt pa [Those who continue to doubt this should shut it]."

In an earlier tweet, Locsin responded to another Twitter user who asked if the protests can be made public. He replied, "No way Jose. So the ignorant will react self-importantly?"

The military confirmed the presence of ships near Pag-asa on Monday, but could not pinpoint as to how many were in the area. Earlier reports said there were more than 600, but Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command Chief of Public Affairs Captain Jason Ramon said there were only 275.

Earlier, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said the groups near the island may only have been Chinese fishermen.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, believes Chinese militia are near the island as reported by the military.