The Philippines has sent ‘note verbales’ to China upon knowing that Beijing has installed an anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the country’s foreign minister revealed Monday.

Appearing to be the first speed bump in the budding China-Philippines relationship, it’s actually a proof of President Rodrigo Duterte’s increasing willingness to work with China diplomatically.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay confirmed on a media that he has sent three or four ‘note verbales’ to China since he has taken office.

A ‘note verbales’ is a diplomatic conciliatory note written in the third individual and is unsigned. It is ordinarily less formal than a diplomatic protest, otherwise called a note.

Yasay said that Manila had responded, quietly after the report came out last month.

“I just want to ensure the Filipino people that when we take action at engaging China in this dispute, we do not want to take such aggressive, provocative action that will not solve the problem,” Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay told CNN Philippines on Monday

“As part of our job, we make sure that our interests are properly protected so when a situation arises for us to issue a note verbale, we just do it as a matter of course without any fanfare,” he said.

Yasay stated “we cannot engage China in a war,” but also made clear the Duterte administration is doing its duty to its people.

It appears that it’s a little too late for the Philippines to file such protest against China since it’s been already reported a month ago by a U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies that China already has a weapons systems installed on seven artificial islands in the Spratlys. – JCE




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