Asia - Pacific

Senior Philippines official calls for expulsion of Chinese diplomats

Chinese Embassy's actions 'sowing' discord among Filipinos, says government national security advisor Eduardo Ano

Riyaz ul Khaliq  | 10.05.2024 - Update : 10.05.2024
Senior Philippines official calls for expulsion of Chinese diplomats


A top national security official from the Philippines called on Friday for the expulsion of Chinese diplomats over an alleged recording of a call with a Filipino military commander who discussed disputes on South China Sea.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila committed “repeated acts of engaging and dissemination of disinformation, misinformation and malinformation,” claimed Eduardo Ano, a national security advisor to the Philippines' government.

Ano said the embassy is “now releasing spurious transcripts or recordings of purported conversations between officials of the host country,” stressing that this “should not be allowed to pass unsanctioned or without penalty.”

"Those individuals in the Chinese embassy ... and those responsible for these malign influence and interference operations must be removed from the country immediately," he said in a statement.

The demand comes after Chinese officials claimed they possess an audio tape and transcript of an alleged phone call with the Philippines Western Command Commander Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, regarding the handling of disputes between the two countries in the South China Sea.

Eduardo said the call's recording breached anti-wiretapping laws, as well as diplomatic protocols and conventions.

Beijing has threatened to publicly release the tape "within days," while Carlos has gone on leave from his duties.

The phone call between a Chinese Embassy diplomat and Carlos mentions that the Filipino commander said the entire chain of command of the Philippines military "was on board with the new model" for peacefully managing the situation in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.

Manila 'desperate,' says Beijing

Eduardo blamed the Chinese Embassy of "sowing discord, division and disunity" in the Philippines and said these were "serious breaches" of basic norms of international relations and diplomacy.

His statement drew a quick backlash from Beijing, where China's Foreign Ministry called on Manila to "ensure normal performance of Chinese diplomatic personnel."

It demonstrates "anxiety and lack of evidence" on part of the Philippines, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jain said in response to Eduardo's statement.

"The Philippines has reached a point of desperation and now lacks integrity. China demands Philippines cease infringing provocations, refrain from denying facts, refrain from reckless actions, and refrain from lifting up a stone only to drop it on one's own foot," Lin told reporters.

China and the Philippines have conflicting claims over the Second Thomas Shoal — also known as the Ayungin Shoal, Bai Co May and Ren'ai Jiao — a submerged reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Vessels from China and the Philippines have also collided several times in the recent past, including when Manila shipped supplies to a rusting World War II-era warship, the BRP Sierra Madre, which Beijing wants the Philippines to remove.

The US and its allies have backed Manila over its claims against Beijing.

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