MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said it “strongly deplores” the Chinese Embassy’s statement maligning Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and reminded them that they are guests of the Philippine government and must accord respect to its officials.
The Department of Foreign Affairs reiterated the demand of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for China to immediately withdraw its vessels that are in the vicinity of Julian Felipe Reef and in the Philippines’ maritime zones.
“For every day of delay, the Republic of the Philippines will lodge a diplomatic protest,” the agency said in a strongly-worded statement.
The DFA said it strongly slammed the statement of the Chinese Embassy spokesperson reacting to Lorenzana’s remarks on April 3 for demanding Chinese vessels to leave the waters in the vicinity of Julian Felipe Reef off the West Philippine Sea.
“Moreover, the Department of Foreign Affairs strongly denounces the embassy’s attempt to impugn the Secretary of National Defense — a Cabinet Official of the Republic of the Philippines — by calling his statement ‘unprofessional,’” it said.
“Chinese Embassy officials are reminded that they are guests of the Philippine Government, and as guests must at all times observe protocol and accord respect to Philippine Government officials.”
On Sunday, Lorenzana demanded the immediate withdrawal of the remaining 44 Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef, located 175 nautical miles of Bataraza, Palawan, but is being claimed by China as part of its territory. There were initially more than 200 Chinese militia vessels in the area when they were spotted by Philippine officials in March 7.
SOURCE: GMA News