MANILA — The Philippine government under the famously foul-mouthed Rodrigo Duterte has at times conducted its diplomacy with the most undiplomatic of language.
In dealing with China, by contrast, Mr. Duterte has generally chosen honey over vinegar, fearful of the consequences of lashing out. But on Monday, that did not stop his top diplomat from doing exactly that.
“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see…,” wrote Teodoro Locsin Jr., Mr. Duterte’s foreign minister, in a tirade on his personal Twitter account. Then, in direct and vulgar terms, he demanded that Beijing pull its ships out of Manila’s waters in the South China Sea.
“What are you doing to our friendship?” he continued. “You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend.”
tone it down.
Last week, Mr. Duterte profusely thanked China for delivering Covid-19 vaccines to the country, saying he was deeply indebted. And on Monday, he appeared to receive his first dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine, according to a livestream shared on Facebook by a Filipino lawmaker.
Still, the territorial issues are a red line of sorts for the Philippines, even if Mr. Duterte has at times sounded almost apologetic in explaining his case.