Philippines Calls For Expelling Of Chinese Diplomats Over Bitter Row Of South China Sea

Pic: Reuters

The Philippines’ national security adviser has called for Chinese diplomats to be expelled over an alleged leak of a phone conversation with a Filipino admiral in a significant escalation of a bitter row over the South China Sea.

In a statement today, Eduardo Ano said that China’s Embassy in Manila had orchestrated ‘repeated acts of engaging and dissemination of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation’ with the objective of sowing discord, division, and disunity.

Those actions “should not be allowed to pass unsanctioned without serious penalty”.

China’s Embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the call to expel diplomats, and the offices of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The two countries have been embroiled in a series of heated standoffs this past year in disputed areas of the South China Sea as the Philippines, emboldened by support from the United States and other allies, steps up activities in waters occupied by China’s vast coast guard.

China has accused the Philippines of trespassing and of treachery, while Manila has scolded Beijing for what it says is a policy of aggression and dangerous manoeuvring inside its exclusive economic zone.

The expelling of diplomats could intensify a row that has so far seen heated exchanges, diplomatic protests, and the ramming and water-cannoning of Philippine ships at two disputed shoals, the closest of which is over 850km away from mainland China.

Ano was referring to a news report this week about an alleged leak of a call between a Chinese diplomat and a Filipino admiral discussing a dispute over the South China Sea. The report carried a transcript that showed the admiral agreeing to concessions with China.

According to the transcript published by the Manila Times, the admiral agreed to China’s proposal of a “new model,” under which the Philippines would use fewer vessels in resupply missions to troops at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal and notify Beijing about missions in advance.


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