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Beijing calls for ‘basic manners’ after the Philippines’ silent South China Sea tweet

National flags of China and the Philippines.

Thomas Peter | AFP | Getty Images

China called for “basic manners” and warned against “mega-fund diplomacy” after Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr. struck out in Beijing in an offensive tweet.

On Monday, Locsin told China in a tweet to “get f ̵

2; out” as the two countries were involved in a war of words over the South China Sea. The secretary has been a vocal China critic in President Rodrigo Duterte’s government and is known for his occasional blunt remarks.

In several tweets in the ensuing days, Locsin apologized to Chinese Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, saying he was “provoked by the latest grossest territorial violation.” Meanwhile, Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque reportedly said the Philippine president had reminded officials that swear words have no place in diplomacy.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reacted to Locs’ outburst in a Tuesday statement, saying that “facts have repeatedly proven that megafond diplomacy can only undermine mutual trust rather than change reality.”

But Beijing also has a track record for firing insults at other countries.

Such aggressive tactics by Chinese diplomats have in recent years increasingly played on social media platforms such as Twitter, which are blocked on the mainland. Observers called these tactics “wolf warrior diplomacy” and took after a series of very popular films in which Chinese warriors defeat opponents globally.

South China Sea Battle

For years, China and the Philippines have contested overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich waterway with a total area of ​​approx. 1.4 million square miles where trillions of dollars of global trade pass.

Over the past year, Beijing has proved more assertive in the disputed waters, leading Manila to protest on several occasions over the presence of Chinese ships in parts of the sea that are internationally recognized as belonging to the Philippines.

Beijing on Tuesday reiterated that Bajo de Masinloc – as it calls Huangyan Island – and its surrounding waters fall under China’s jurisdiction.

The Bajo de Masinloc, also known as the Scarborough Shoal, is a chain of coral reefs in the South China Sea, located about 120 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine coast and 470 nautical miles from the nearest coast of China.

China claims most of the South China Sea, based on what it says are nine hyphens that delimit Chinese territory in historical maps. An international court in 2016 rejected the so-called nine-dash as legally unfounded – a decision ignored by Beijing.

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