Philippines Protests China Law on Coast Guard’s Weapon Use

The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest against China’s law giving its coast guard more freedom to fire on foreign vessels, the Southeast Asian nation’s foreign affairs minister said.

“While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one — given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea — is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on his Twitter on Wednesday.

Locsin said he filed the protest as inaction means the Philippines is submitting to the new law, which also allows Chinese coast guard to board and inspect foreign ships operating in China’s “jurisdictional waters.” He said on Monday that the law was “none of our business.”

Both countries have overlapping claims in the resource rich South China Sea. Last year, Manila filed a diplomatic protest against Beijing over the Chinese Coast Guard’s alleged confiscation of Filipino fishermen’s equipment in the disputed waters.

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