Philippine Defense Chief Slams Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson For ‘Gutter Level Talk’ Toward President

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The Philippines’ Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro on Wednesday blasted Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning for her “gutter level talk” against Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. over the latter’s congratulatory message for Taiwanese president-elect Lai Ching-te.
“It is unfortunate that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) 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 the Party she represents in the process,” Teodoro said in a statement.
He added that he isn’t surprised Mao “would go that far and that low” since she “routinely spouts State-sanctioned propaganda and disinformation.”
Teodoro was referring to Mao’s Tuesday comments about Marcos Jr. that the Philippine leader “read more to develop a proper understanding of the ins and outs of the Taiwan question.”
Marcos Jr. on Monday congratulated Lai on his win during Taiwan’s weekend presidential election. He said his administration was eager to collaborate with Taiwan and strengthen mutual interests with the self-governing island.
Lai has since responded, thanking Marcos Jr., adding that he was looking forward to further strengthening people-to-people ties with Manila while “championing democracy” in the region.
In mid-2023, Taiwanese foreign minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu told a Philippine media outlet that security cooperation between Taipei and Manila may be possible since both were facing the same threat: China’s aggression.
He said the Taiwanese government was optimistic of improved ties with Manila under the Marcos Jr. administration since the Philippine leader has spoken about “the need to oppose unilateral change of status quo” in various areas, including in the disputed South China Sea. Like Manila, Taipei also found an ally in the Biden administration.
Unlike his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, Marcos Jr. turned the tide when he revived traditional defense ties with Washington. Observers noted that the shift in position may be due to Manila’s hopes that a strong relationship with the U.S. can help a smaller Philippines in deterring China’s aggression, especially in disputed territorial waters.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) released a statement Thursday, revealing that Philippine foreign affairs undersecretary Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro and Chinese assistant foreign minister Nong Rong “had frank and productive discussions to de-escalate the situation in the South China Sea.”
The two nations, which were strong allies during the Duterte government, agreed “to calmly deal with incidents, if any, through diplomacy,” the DFA’ statement said. They also agreed that continuous dialogue was necessary to retain stability in the area.
The South China Sea remains a thorn in Beijing-Manila relations as China lays claim to almost the entire sea even as the Philippines, Taiwan, and several other Southeast Asian neighbors also dispute parts of the sea.
Beijing amplified its claims in a 2023 map that evolved its infamous nine-dash line to a 10-dash line that adds Taiwan and many island features within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in its claimed territorial jurisdictions.

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