Malacañang stressed on Thursday that the diplomatic protest filed by the country against China’s new law that allows the Chinese coast guard to shoot foreign vessels in disputed South China Sea waters.

The new Chinese law was described by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin as defiant to the law.

“After reflection I fired a diplomatic protest. While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one—given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea—is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it,” he wrote on Twitter.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the protest would not affect the countries’ bilateral talks on Covid-19 vaccines.

“Wala pong epekto iyan dahil ibang usapin naman ang bakuna. Ang bakuna po is actually a humanitarian act of the entire planet Earth in response to a humanitarian disaster,” he said in a media briefing.

The country has secured 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Chinese manufacturer Sinovac, which is said to arrive next month.

Roque added that the country’s countermeasure on China’s new law was consistent with the country’s recognition of international law.

“This is consistent with our position that while states can enact laws as part of their sovereignty, they must do so in compliance with the UN Charter – prohibiting the use of force unless by way of self-defense or when authorized by the Security Council,” Roque said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro