Twitter on Monday, calling China an “ugly oaf” and demanding it “get the f*** out” of Philippine maritime waters. His colourful language followed reports that Chinese coastguard ships had harassed their Philippine counterparts in the vicinity of the shoal, which is claimed by both countries.
The shoal lies 220km east of the Philippine island of Luzon and is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone but is also within the nine-dash line that Beijing uses to stake its claims to more than 90 per cent of the South China Sea.
Locsin’s outburst is the latest escalation in a war of words that has taken a turn for the worse since March, when hundreds of Chinese vessels were spotted lingering near Whitsun Reef, another feature of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said in a statement on Monday that “China has no law enforcement rights in these areas … the unauthorised and lingering presence of these vessels is a blatant infringement of Philippine sovereignty.”