Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday, August 12, said he amended the restriction on marine survey ships to include China, explaining that granting exception to one country “will automatically lift ban universally” and will “invite bribes.”
In a tweet, he said: “I banned marine survey ships, amending restriction to France and Japan by adding China. To pick and choose invites suspicion of favoritism. Will universalize the ban. Period. Granting exception to one country will automatically lift ban universally. Exceptions invite bribes.”
Locsin’s statement was in response to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo saying that there is nothing wrong with seeking U.S. assistance in monitoring the country’s EEZ.
When asked in a tweet by maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal if Philippine maritime scientific research was allowed, Locsin answered that he wanted to see the “academic qualifications of the UP guys looking for a cruise.”
“UP had taken initiative of organizing MSR projects but also got banned because we invited foreign scientists or asked to use foreign ships. We end up losing opportunities for tech transfer and experience,” Batongbacal said.
Locsin responded by saying he would not allow “PoliSigh and the rest of that mushy crap.”
The exchange came following reports that two Chinese ships were recently seen operating in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
According to Ryan Martinson, an assistant professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute of the U.S. Naval War College, Chinese oceanographic survey ships Zhanjian and Dong Fang Hong 3 were seen in the Philippines’ EEZ this week conducting marine scientific research.
He said that the Zhanjian has been operating in the Philippines’ EEZ since Saturday, August 10; while Dong Fang Hong 3 was spotted near northern Luzon on Wednesday, August 7.