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Philippines’s Marcos promises measures after China’s ‘dangerous attacks’ | South China Sea News

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President says country will respond to South China Sea confrontations with proportionate measures after Filipino soldiers injured.

President Ferdinand Marcos says the Philippines will take countermeasures against China after confrontations in the South China Sea last week injured Filipino soldiers and damaged vessels.

“We seek no conflict with any nation, more so nations that purport and claim to be our friends but we will not be cowed into silence, submission, or subservience,” Marcos said in a statement on Thursday.

He said the Philippines would respond with a “countermeasure package that is proportionate, deliberate, and reasonable in the face of the open, unabating, and illegal, coercive, aggressive, and dangerous attacks by agents of the China Coast Guard and the Chinese Maritime Militia”.

He added: “Filipinos do not yield.”

Marcos’s remarks came as China blamed Philippine actions for recent rising tensions between the countries in the hotly contested waterway, which Beijing claims almost entirely.

The two countries have a long history of maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and there have been repeated confrontations between their vessels near disputed reefs in recent months.

Chinese envoy summoned

The latest incident near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands occurred on Saturday during a regular Philippine mission to resupply Filipino troops garrisoned on the BRP Sierra Madre, a grounded navy ship.

The Philippines said the Chinese coastguard blocked its supply vessel and damaged it with water cannon, injuring three soldiers. It summoned a Chinese envoy in response.

China’s coastguard has defended its actions, describing them as “lawful regulation, interception and expulsion” of a foreign vessel that “tried to forcefully intrude” into Chinese waters.

China has urged Manila to “pull back from the brink” and stop “provoking trouble at sea”.

In a statement on Thursday titled China Will Not Allow the Philippines to Act Wilfully, Beijing’s Ministry of National Defence blamed “the provocations by the Philippine side” for the increased tensions over the South China Sea.

“Relying on the backing of external forces … the Philippine side has frequently infringed on rights and provoked and created trouble at sea, as well as spreading false information to mislead the international community’s perception of the issue, which is, so to speak, going further and further down a dangerous road,” the statement added.

US support

The United States, a treaty ally of the Philippines, has led a chorus of support for the Southeast Asian country in response to Chinese actions.

Marcos said the international community had “offered to help us on what the Philippines requires to protect and secure our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction while ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific”.

“I have given them our requirements and we have been assured that they will be addressed,” he said without providing details.

His statement also came after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin repeated the “ironclad” US commitment to its longtime ally in a call with his Filipino counterpart, Gilberto Teodoro, on Wednesday.

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