MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Friday he has rejected the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) request to place its attaché at the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC.
“(The) Washington request… I also rejected this. No need for them to be there,” Locsin said in an interview with CNN Philippines, noting that the PCG applied for a Coast Guard attaché in the US after he “flatly rejected” a similar request for Beijing.
The country’s top diplomat explained that Manila does not share a coastline with the United States like what it has with Canada.
“I can imagine that there would be a Canadian Coast Guard attaché because the US and Canada have had border disputes and other issues that involve the use of the coast guards of either country or both and I can see a point for that. But I don’t even know if Canada has a Coast Guard attaché but I say, no,” he said.
Locsin on Wednesday also denied the PCG’s request for a separate office at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, saying it would be tantamount to conceding Manila’s exclusive sovereignty over its coastal waters.
“What does that mean? That means that the Coast Guard, which basically interdicts Chinese incursions now it will take upon itself to be in Beijing and whenever the Chinese want to make a naval movement and anywhere within our territory, they can discuss it with the Coast Guard? Excuse me, no, you only discuss it with me,” he said Friday.
“I discuss it only with (Defense Secretary Delfin) Lorenzana and (National Security Adviser) Jun Esperon. The Coast Guard is an instrumentality of the policy we make. They do not make policies,” he added.
According to Locsin, there is a maritime attaché in London to represent Manila at the International Maritime Organization.
READ: Attaché’s designation eyed not only in China, says PCG
Earlier, the PCG explained that a Coast Guard attaché with China would directly coordinate and facilitate “bilateral and multilateral” talks with Beijing for the establishment of the Joint Coast Guard Committee (JCGC), specifically in maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, maritime security, maritime safety, and marine environmental protection.
It disclosed that there were also proposals to post Coast Guard attachés in Malaysia and Indonesia. (PNA)