Diplomatic protest not needed vs. other South China Sea claimants with no active conflict with PH – Locsin

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — There is no need to file diplomatic protests against other claimants in the South China Sea that don't have an active conflict with the Philippines, Foreign Affairs Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr. said Monday.

Locsin was asked during a House budget hearing by Deputy Speaker Luis Raymond “LRay” Villafuerte if -- just like what the Department of Foreign Affairs did with China -- he plans to file a diplomatic protest against Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia for occupying maritime features in the South China Sea.

“I don’t think we have active conflicts with Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan. So, there’s no need for diplomatic protest,” Locsin said.

The Philippines last month filed a diplomatic protest against China after the Chinese Coast Guard's "illegal" confiscation in May of fish aggregating devices from Filipino fishermen near Bajo de Masinloc. Also known as Scarborough Shoal, the area is located some 120 nautical miles off Zambales, and is claimed by the Philippines to be within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

“Since China claims all of the South China Sea with the nine-dash line, and they move around with their vessels. So, from time to time, when they break into our territory, we shoot a diplomatic protest,” Locsin said.

According to the secretary, 54 diplomatic protests have been filed against China and 42 have already been answered.

Aside from the Philippines and China, the other claimants in the South China Sea are Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

In 2016, an international tribunal in The Hague largely favored the Philippines in its case against China, invalidating Beijing's sweeping claims in the South China Sea based on its nine-dash line stake. China has ignored the ruling.