Defiant In The Face Of Danger: Watch As Philippines Stands Strong With Response To China's Maritime Muscle-Flexing (Video)

By Alan Hume | Sunday, 31 March 2024 05:15 AM
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In a recent development, the Philippines has issued a stern response to China following a hostile encounter in the South China Sea.

The incident, which occurred over the weekend, saw the Chinese coast guard employ water cannons in an aggressive confrontation. The Philippine government has made it clear that "Filipinos do not yield."

The President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., stated that the response from Manila would be "proportionate, deliberate and reasonable" in light of the "open, unabating, and illegal, coercive, aggressive and dangerous attacks by agents of the China coast guard and Chinese maritime militia." However, Marcos did not elaborate on the specific measures his administration would implement in response.

This incident comes on the heels of a dispute near the Second Thomas Shoal, where two Chinese coast guard vessels reportedly targeted Philippine Navy personnel with water cannons at close range.

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Several Filipino crew members sustained injuries, with one individual being thrown against a wall by the force of the water cannon. The impact, however, seemingly saved him from being thrown overboard, according to Philippine military officials.

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The wooden vessel involved in the incident, which was reportedly delivering supplies to Marines stationed at an outpost on the Second Thomas Shoal, also suffered damage.

Tensions between China and the Philippines have been on the rise since Manila initiated repairs on the BRP Sierra Madre naval vessel in October 2023. The vessel had been left to rust for over 25 years. The Sierra Madre was grounded by the Philippine Navy in 1997 on the Second Thomas Shoal, a partially submerged reef in the South China Sea, and has since served as a strategic outpost for Manila.

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The reef, part of the disputed Spratly Islands, is classified as a low-tide elevation, meaning it is a naturally formed landmass that remains above water during low tide. Despite its location more than 100 nautical miles from the Philippines Economic Exclusion Zone and outside any nation's territorial seas, the reef "is not subject to any claim to sovereignty or appropriation by any State under international law," as stated by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

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Despite the Sierra Madre's dilapidated state, the Philippine government has reportedly maintained a marine presence on the vessel to assert its claim to the contested area, as reported by the U.S. Naval Institute.

The U.S. has condemned China's aggressive actions, reminding Beijing of its obligation to defend Manila under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty should Philippine forces, aircraft, or ships come under armed attack.

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In response to the U.S.'s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian stated, "The U.S. is not a party to the South China Sea issue and is not in the position of interfering in issues between China and the Philippines."

He further asserted China's determination to uphold its "territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests," adding that the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty would not deter China's resolve.

The U.S. and its regional allies, including Japan and Australia, have repeatedly urged Beijing to respect international laws and refrain from altering the status quo in the South China Sea.

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