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Palace says Locsin apologized for spewing profanity at China

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has apologized to the Chinese government for spewing profanity in a tweet blasting the presence of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said Tuesday.

At a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Locsin personally apologized to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian. He said Locsin told him about this during a phone conversation early Tuesday.

"Personal na pananaw po iyon. Hindi po ito polisiya ng Pilipinas [it is Secretary Locsin's personal opinion. It's not the official policy of the government]," Roque said of Locsin's tweet telling Chinese ships to "get the f— out" of Philippine waters.

"Personal po siyang nag-apologize sa Chinese ambassador. Sa diplomacy, walang lugar ang pagmumura [Secretary Locsin personally apologized to the Chinese ambassador. In diplomacy, there is no place for profanities]," he added.

Roque also said Locsin made the apology "on his own" without pressure or order from Duterte.

In a public address on Monday night, Duterte said the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China is not a reason for Filipinos to be "rude and disrespectful."

Duterte made the remarks after Locsin and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued strong statements against the continued presence of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea

Roque, however, was quick to point out that Duterte will not drop his habit of saying expletives, including in statements involving foreign policy.

"Sabi ng Presidente sa Gabinete, ang Presidente lang ang puwede magmura [the President told his Cabinet that only the President has the right to curse]," he said.

"Walang puwedeng gumaya sa kanya [nobody should imitate him]," he added.

In a July 2016 ruling, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration already rejected China's claim of sovereignty in the entire South China Sea, a portion of which the Philippines calls West Philippine Sea.

The same Hague court decision, which stemmed from a case filed by the Philippines against China in 2013, also ruled that the Spratlys Islands, Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank are within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. --KBK, GMA News