Philippine fires expletive-laden tweet at China

Top diplomat protests against "illegal" presence of Chinese fishing boats in Philippine waters

MANILA: The Philippines' Foreign Affairs Secretary yesterday demanded in an expletive-laced message on Twitter that China's vessels get out of the disputed South China Sea.

"China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O… GET THE F*** OUT," Mr Teodoro Locsin said in a tweet on his personal account.

"What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We're trying. You. You're like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend…"

Mr Locsin's comments come in the wake of Manila's protests against the "illegal" presence of hundreds of Chinese boats inside the Philippines' 322km exclusive economic zone.

Chinese officials have previously said the vessels at the disputed Whitsun Reef were fishing boats taking refuge from rough seas. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about US$3 trillion (S$4 trillion) of ship-borne trade passes each year.

In a statement yesterday, the Philippines' Foreign Affairs Department accused China's coast guard of "shadowing, blocking, dangerous manoeuvres and radio challenges of the Philippine coast guard vessels".

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview that aired on Sunday that China had recently acted "more aggressively abroad" and was behaving "increasingly in adversarial ways."

Asked by CBS News if Washington was heading towards a military confrontation with Beijing, Mr Blinken said: "It is profoundly against the interests of both China and the United States to get to that point, or even to head in that direction."

He added: "What we have witnessed over the last several years is China acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad. That is a fact."

Asked about the reported theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in US trade secrets and intellectual property (IP) by China, Mr Blinken said the Biden administration had "real concerns" about the IP issue.

He said it sounded like the actions "of someone who is trying to compete unfairly and increasingly in adversarial ways".

"But we are much more effective and stronger when we are bringing like-minded and similarly aggrieved countries together to say to Beijing: 'This can't stand and it won't stand.'" - REUTERS