West PH Sea: China took what is ours – Locsin

Locsin stands by DOJ chief on Ressa's arrest

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The West Philippine Sea is “ours” and China “took it,” Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Wednesday.

“The stand is that it is ours. And they took it. World’s highest court ruled that. Period,” Locsin tweeted in response to a Twitter user who asked for the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) stand amid the alleged invasion of China in the West Philippine Sea.

Locsin was referring to the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) which favored the Philippines after it filed a case challenging China’s sweeping claims of nearly the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

READ: PH wins arbitration case over South China Sea

The country’s top diplomat further said that it was now a matter of figuring out “how to take it back.”

“Now the question is how to take it back. I personally have no fear of war. One attack on a public vessel triggers World War 3 with the USofA which is impervious to attack from Asia,” he added.

Locsin earlier mentioned that the United States was and would remain the “only military ally” of the Philippines.

During his visit to Manila last March 1, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed that the US government would come to the Philippines’ aid should there be any “armed attack” in the disputed South China Sea.

READ: US vows PH defense vs attack in South China Sea 

President Rodrigo Duterte has also warned China not to touch Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, which is the main island feature in the Philippine-occupied Kalayaan Island Group.

READ: Duterte to China: We’re pals but don’t touch Pag-asa 

The President made the statement after a report by the military’s Western Command showed a surge of vessels from a Chinese fishing fleet around Pag-asa Island.

READ: Chinese sea militia swarms around Pag-asa Island – military 

“I am asking you, I will not plead or beg, but I’m just telling you, lay off the Pag-asa because I have soldiers there. And if you lay a finger on them, it’s another story. I will tell my soldiers, prepare for a suicide mission,” Duterte said during a campaign rally in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province over the weekend. /cbb