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Beijing calls for “major manners” following Philippines’ candidacy on South China Sea

National flags of China and the Philippines.

Thomas Peter AFP | Getty Images

China has called for “basic manners” and warned against “megaphone diplomacy” after Philippine Foreign Minister Theodoro Losin Jr. attacked Beijing in an offensive tweet.

On Monday, Locsin told China in a tweet to “get the mistake out”

; as the two countries engaged in a verbal war over the South China Sea. The secretary has been a vocal critic of China in the government of President Rodrigo Duterte and is known for his remarks from time to time.

In several tweets over the next few days, Losin apologized to Chinese State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and said he was “provoked by the latest gross territorial violation.” Duterte spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, said the Philippine president had reminded officials that swearing had no place in diplomacy.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded to Losin’s outburst on Tuesday, saying “the facts have proven time and time again that megaphone diplomacy can only undermine mutual trust instead of changing reality.”

But Beijing also has experience in insulting other countries.

Such aggressive tactics by Chinese diplomats in recent years have increasingly played out on social media platforms such as Twitter, which is blocked on the continent. Observers called the tactic “wolf warrior diplomacy,” taking a series of hugely popular films in which Chinese fighters defeat adversaries around the world.

South China Sea dispute

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

Over the past year, Beijing seems more emphatic in the disputed waters, prompting Manila to protest several times against the presence of Chinese ships in parts of the sea that are internationally recognized as belonging to the Philippines.

On Tuesday, Beijing reiterated that Bajo de Masinloc – which he calls Huangyan Island – and surrounding waters fall under Chinese jurisdiction.

The Bajo de Masinloc, also known as the Scarborough Shoal, is a chain of 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 nine dashes that outline Chinese territory in historical maps. In 2016, an international tribunal rejected the so-called nine-dash line as legally unfounded, a decision ignored by Beijing.

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