Philippines defence minister calls out China official for “gutter-level talk”

Published January 17, 2024

MANILA, Jan 17 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ defense secretary on Wednesday accused a Chinese foreign ministry official of insulting President Ferdinand Marcos Jr during a news briefing, stooping to what he called “low and gutter-level talk.”

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro in a statement also accused spokesperson Mao Ning of “spouting state-sanctioned propaganda and disinformation”.

Teodoro was reacting to Mao’s remarks on Tuesday telling Marcos to “read more books to properly understand the ins and outs of the Taiwan issue” after he had congratulated the democratically governed island’s election winner Lai Ching-te, referring to him as president.

“It is unfortunate that the (Chinese) ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson stooped to such low and gutter-level talk – resorting to insulting our president and the Filipino nation, and further debasing herself, the ministry, and party she represents in the process,” Teodoro said in a statement.



RELATED: China rebukes countries, summons Philippine envoy in wake of Taiwan elections

Taiwan President-elect Lai Ching-te, of Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) gestures as he attends a rally following the victory in the presidential elections, in Taipei, Taiwan, on Jan 13, 2024. (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang)
Published January 16, 2024

BEIJING: China summoned the ambassador of the Philippines on Tuesday (Jan 16) after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr congratulated Taiwan’s president-elect Lai Ching-te on his election victory.

The move came after Beijing rebuked countries that congratulated Lai on his victory, including the United States, Japan, Singapore and several European nations.

“This morning, Assistant Minister Nong Rong summoned the ambassador of the Philippines to China to make solemn representations and urge the Philippine side to give the Chinese side a responsible explanation,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular press conference.

“The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposes” Marcos’s remarks, Mao said.

Independence-leaning Lai eased to a comfortable victory in Taiwan’s presidential election on Saturday.

China regards the democratic island as part of its territory and has vowed to seize it, by force if necessary.

Beijing does not maintain diplomatic ties with countries that recognise Taiwan and opposes official communications with Taipei by foreign powers.

“Anyone in the international community who violates the One China principle is interfering in China’s internal affairs and infringing upon China’s sovereignty, and will face the joint opposition of the Chinese people and the international community,” said Mao.

“China deplores and strongly opposes relevant countries’ wrong practices violating the One China principle, including issuing statements and ‘expressing congratulations’. We’ve lodged serious demarches.”

A demarche is a diplomatic statement.



RELATED: China blasts president of the Philippines for congratulating Taiwan election winner

In this image made from video, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning gestures during a press conference in Beijing, China on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. China’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Philippine ambassador and denounced remarks by the country’s President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday congratulating the winner of Taiwan’s presidential election, Lai Ching-te. (AP Photo/Liu Zheng)
Published January 16, 2024

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Philippine ambassador Tuesday and denounced President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s congratulatory message to the winner of Taiwan’s presidential election, Lai Ching-te.

Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters that Marcos’s remarks “seriously violated the political commitments made by the Philippines to China and rudely interfered in China’s internal affairs.”

China claims Taiwan as its own territory, to be recovered by force if necessary, and angrily condemns statements that appear to confer legitimacy on the island’s government.

“We would like to sternly tell the Philippines not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue … (and) immediately stop making wrong words and deeds on Taiwan-related issues, and stop sending any wrong signals to Taiwan independence and separatist forces,” Mao said.

She said Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Nong Rong summoned the Philippine Ambassador to China Tuesday morning and “made solemn representations, and urged the Philippines to give China a responsible explanation.”

Marcos Jr. congratulated Taiwan’s president-elect on Monday, saying in a statement shared on social media that he was looking “forward to close collaboration” and “strengthening mutual interests.” Lai, who is detested by Beijing, has pledged to safeguard the island’s de-facto independence from China and further align it with other democracies.

“On behalf of the Filipino people, I congratulate President-elect Lai Ching-te on his election as Taiwan’s next president,” Marcos said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

After U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Lai on his victory, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Blinken’s message “sends a gravely wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.” The ministry claimed the congratulations went against a U.S. commitment to maintain only unofficial ties with Taiwan.





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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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