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Philippine President Marcos Emphasizes Peaceful Resolution in South China Sea Dispute with China

Philippine President Marcos Emphasizes Peaceful Resolution in South China Sea Dispute with China
Philippine President Marcos Emphasizes Peaceful Resolution in South China Sea Dispute with China

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Sunday that the country won’t start a war over the South China Sea issue with Beijing. This came after a recent clash between the Philippine Navy and Chinese coast guard forces earlier in the week. The South China Sea is a crucial route for over $3 trillion in annual shipping, and it’s disputed territory involving Beijing and several Southeast Asian countries.

Addressing troops stationed in the South China Sea, President Marcos emphasized the Philippines’ preference for peaceful resolutions. He stated that Filipinos naturally seek to resolve issues without resorting to war.

Marcos commended the Philippine forces for their restraint despite significant provocations, underscoring that Manila would not capitulate to any foreign power, though he refrained from specifically naming China.

Philippine President Marcos Emphasizes Peaceful Resolution in South China Sea Dispute with China

Philippine President Marcos Emphasizes Peaceful Resolution in South China Sea Dispute with China

Marcos reiterated that the Philippines would not use force, intimidation, or harm in performing their duties. He stressed that their calm and peaceful stance should not be interpreted as weakness or acceptance of the current situation. His remarks highlight a commitment to non-aggression and a desire for peaceful coexistence in the disputed waters.

The recent clash on Monday involved Philippine ships being attacked by the Chinese coast guard while attempting to deliver supplies to the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

The Philippine military reported that the Chinese coast guard used knives and spears, causing severe injury to a Filipino sailor and damaging Philippine boats. China defended its actions, claiming they were necessary to protect its territorial waters and that the Philippine ships had ignored warnings.

In light of the incident, the United States reaffirmed its defense commitments to the Philippines under a mutual defense treaty. However, the Philippines stated that invoking the treaty was unnecessary as China’s actions, though escalatory, did not amount to an armed attack. This response highlights Manila’s cautious approach to the dispute, seeking to manage tensions without escalating to armed conflict.

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