Locsin orders filing of diplomatic protest for Chinese Coast Guard vessels in Ayungin Shoal

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. on Wednesday ordered the immediate filing of fresh diplomatic protest for the confirmed presence of Chinese Coast Guard at the Ayungin Shoal.

"@DFAPHL Fire off another diplomatic protest, Igor. Now," he tweeted.

Locsin replied to the story on the Defense officials' confirmation that a Chinese Coast Guard vessel was spotted 4 to 5 nautical miles away from Ayungin Shoal, known internationally as Second Thomas Shoal.

Former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Noel S. Clement on Monday said that if the Chinese Coast Guard failed to apply for passage in the disputed waters, the military has to report it as violations.

In September, Defense officials also said a Chinese Coast Guard ship had blocked three Philippine civilian vessels in Ayungin Shoal.

The Defense Department has monitored China to be regularly deploying at least one Coast Guard ship to Ayungin Shoal. They are perceived to be monitoring Philippine activities in the area.

Despite a 2016 arbitral ruling by an international tribunal backed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidating China’s sweeping claims to virtually the entire South China Sea, it still claims Ayungin — which the Chinese call Ren'ai Jiao.

US-based think-tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative has previously reported that the Chinese Coast Guard is ramping up efforts against Malaysian and Vietnamese ships that service other vessels in oil blocks in the South China Sea.