Locsin: 'Never point anything at my country unless you're looking for a fight'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 29) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin, Jr. said he will not condone a Chinese vessel's pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in the West Philippine Sea.

On his Twitter page Tuesday night, Locsin responded with strong words to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's statement that the incident was merely a test and China wanted to see how the Filipinos would react.

"Well we passed the test; I slapped them back. Don't even dream of pointing anything at my country. Wanna point then fire away. Let's see where that takes us," Locsin said in a tweet.

"[N]ever ever point anything at my country unless you're looking for a fight. I know my soldiers," he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs last week filed a diplomatic protest over the aiming of weapons at BRP Conrado Yap, a former Pohang-class corvette received by the Philippines from South Korea last year. It is considered as the country's "most powerful" ship yet.

It's not clear if there has been any response from the Chinese government, but it has so far made no public statement on the issue.

Lorenzana said China received the diplomatic protest on April 22. He said the Chinese may have no intention to fire its weapons, adding it is similar to previous maritime incidents when it would challenge vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

Locsin, however, said, "as the country's chief diplomat I don't do mind-reading; I just interpret actions & respond accordingly. I won't tolerate anyone pointing at me or my countrymen unless they're admirers; then I expect the pointing to be accompanied by a shower of petals."

While it has not released a statement on the Philippines' diplomatic action, the Chinese Embassy in Manila on April 24 released a music video with the song "Iisang Dagat," meant to pay tribute to frontliners in the battle against the coronavirus disease in the Philippines and in China.

It drew outrage online as Filipinos took it as a Chinese propaganda to assert ownership of the West Philippine Sea – areas Manila claims and occupies in the disputed South China Sea. China insists on owning the global waterway and rejects the Philippines' 2016 arbitration win that invalidated its sweeping claim.

The two countries remain friends, its leaders say, as they agreed to set aside the arbitral ruling for joint oil and gas exploration.