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Marcos says Philippines 'undeterred' by China's actions in WPS

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Marcos says Philippines 'undeterred' by China's actions in WPS
Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.speaks during the “Intentional Equity in Sustainability” conversation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in San Francisco, California, on November 15, 2023. The APEC Summit takes place through November 17.
AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the government remains “undeterred” despite China’s continued harassment of Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea. 

“The aggression and provocations perpetrated by the China Coast Guard (CCG) and their Chinese Maritime Militia against our vessels and personnel over the weekend have only further steeled our determination to defend and protect our nation's sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea,” Marcos said in a statement late Sunday.

He stressed that China’s “illegal presence in our waters and dangerous actions against our citizens is an outright and blatant violation of international law and the rules-based international order.”

Manila and Beijing have traded accusations over the collisions of their vessels.

The Philippine Coast Guard accused the CCG of firing water cannons and ramming its patrol boat and supply vessels during a resupply mission to troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre, a grounded warship that serves as the country’s outpost in the WPS.

This caused “severe damage” to the engine of M/L Kalayaan, one of the supply boats. 

China, however, claimed that a Philippine vessel intentionally collided with its ship.

The Atin Ito Coalition also announced Sunday that the convoy of civilian boats planning to deliver provisions to Filipino fishermen and troops in the WPS had to abort its trip after being “constantly shadowed” by Chinese vessels. 

The incidents occurred a day after the CCG used water cannons to obstruct vessels of the fisheries bureau from approaching Filipino fishing boats near Bajo de Masinloc off Zambales. 

‘Ayungin is ours’

Marcos reiterated that Ayungin Shoal is within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone and that Bajo de Masinloc is a sovereign Philippine territory and an integral part of the archipelago. 

“No one but the Philippines has a legitimate right or legal basis to operate anywhere in the West Philippine Sea,” he said. 

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near the shores of its neighbors, and has ignored an international tribunal ruling in 2016 that its assertions have no legal basis. 

Relations between Manila and Beijing have deteriorated under Marcos, who has sought to improve ties with traditional ally Washington and push back against Chinese actions in the West Philippine Sea.

His predecessor Rodrigo Duterte led a foreign policy pivot to China in exchange for investment pledges. 

Marcos added that he has ordered the uniformed services to conduct their missions with utmost regard for their safety, “yet proceed with a mission-oriented mindset.” — with report from Agence France-Presse

vuukle comment

CHINA

FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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