Philippines will not be ‘cowed into silence’ by China: President Marcos


MANILA: President Ferdinand Marcos said Thursday the Philippines will not be “cowed into silence” by Beijing after confrontations in the South China Sea that injured Filipino troops and damaged vessels.

Marcos’s remarks came as China blamed the Philippines for raising tensions in the hotly contested waterway, which Beijing claims almost entirely.

Beijing and Manila 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.

Manila summoned a Chinese envoy over the latest incident near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, which occurred last Saturday during a Philippine mission to resupply troops garrisoned on the BRP Sierra Madre, a grounded navy ship.

The Philippines said the China Coast Guard blocked its supply vessel and damaged it with a water cannon, injuring three soldiers.

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

Beijing has urged Manila to “pull back from the brink” and stop “provoking trouble at sea,” but Marcos hit back on Thursday.

“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.

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.”

“Filipinos do not yield,” Marcos said.


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