Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rebuked his top diplomat for telling China to “get the f— out” of disputed waters, explaining other officials in his government lack the prerogative to speak so indelicately.
“The message of the president is: In the area of diplomacy, there is no place for cursing,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told local media. “Only the president can curse, no one else can copy him.”
That censure prompted a public and private apology from Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who erupted Sunday evening in response to the Chinese Coast Guard’s reported harassment of Philippine Coast Guard vessels. Locsin’s outburst made Duterte uncomfortable, in keeping with his penchant for maintaining a conciliatory posture toward Beijing.
That statement represents a reassertion of Duterte’s docility toward China’s aggression, despite Beijing’s failure to deliver the economic investments that helped motivate his often anti-American stance. Locsin, for his part, couched the apology in the narrowest terms possible.
“I won’t plead the last provocation as an excuse for losing it; but if Wang Yi is following Twitter then I’m sorry for hurting his feelings but his alone,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. “It’s been my elusive dream to copy until I attain in mind and manner the elegance of Wang Yi. His opinion alone matters.”
I won’t plead the last provocation as an excuse for losing it; but if Wang Yi is following Twitter then I’m sorry for hurting his feelings but his alone. It’s been my elusive dream to copy until I attain in mind and manner the elegance of Wang Yi. His opinion alone matters. He… https://t.co/LgvHujxzYc
A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman took umbrage at Locsin’s initial rebuke but avoided mentioning him by name when urging a “certain individual from the Philippine side will mind basic manners and act in ways that suit his status.”
Locsin gave a puckish response. “Damned decent of them not to mention my name,” he tweeted. “I will mind basic manners and act as I’ve usually done in ways that suit my status. I did it well with China in the UN. I just lost it. But these constant provocations … no they’re no excuse for dropping manners.”
He also suggested that China’s so-called “wolf warrior” diplomats have taken inspiration from his behavior, in an apparent implication that Beijing’s complaints about his manners are hypocritical, and reiterated Manila’s position on the sovereignty dispute.
“I lost it this time but then I was provoked by the latest grossest territorial violation,” he wrote in subsequent tweets. “They took a reef of coral and water and poured sand to make it a sandbar then poured cement to make it a tarmac. Guess where they took the sand from? The Visayas. In yet another way Scarborough is ours: our coral beneath our sand above.”
- ^ “get the f— out” (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ told (www.philstar.com)
- ^ said (news.abs-cbn.com)
- ^ ‘UNTAPPED WEAPON’: PHILIPPINE LEADERS WARN CHINA BY TOUTING DEFENSE TREATY WITH US (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ docility (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ aggression (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ often (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ anti-American stance (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ https://t.co/LgvHujxzYc (t.co)
- ^ May 4, 2021 (twitter.com)
- ^ umbrage (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- ^ tweeted (twitter.com)
- ^ CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER (washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ wrote (twitter.com)
- ^ tweets (twitter.com)