Philippines Vows To De-Escalate South China Sea Tensions, Dismisses Use Of Water Cannons: 'Will Not Follow The Chinese Coast Guard...Down That Road'

The Philippines has pledged to abstain from escalating tensions in the South China Sea, rejecting the use of water cannons or any other offensive weapons. The announcement was made by the country’s President, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

What Happened: Marcos emphasized that the country’s primary goal is to reduce, not intensify, tensions in the strategic waterway, Reuters reported on Monday.

“We will not follow the Chinese coast guard and Chinese vessels down that road,” Marcos said.

He added that the mission of the Philippine Navy and coast guard is to de-escalate tensions, with no plans to equip vessels with water cannons.

The South China Sea, a crucial conduit for over $3 trillion of annual ship-borne commerce, has parts claimed by China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. China’s expansive claim was ruled as lacking legal basis by an international tribunal in 2016, a decision that Beijing has since dismissed.

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Why It Matters: This declaration comes in the wake of Manila’s protest last week against Beijing’s use of water cannons on Filipino vessels at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea. The Philippines labeled this act as harassment and “dangerous maneuvers,” following a recent increase in tensions. This incident marked the first time the Chinese Coast Guard had directly used a water cannon against a Philippine vessel.

Earlier in March, amid escalating tensions, the U.S. had reaffirmed its “ironclad commitment” to defend the Philippines against any provocative actions. This was followed by a warning from China about a potential crossroads in their bilateral relations with the Philippines due to maritime disputes.

Read Next: Philippines Slams Xi Jinping’s Coast Guard Of Escalating South China Sea Tensions: ‘They Don’t Hesitate To Use Brute Force…’

Image by Andy.LIU via Shutterstock

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Posted In: NewsPoliticsGlobalGeneralChinaFerdinand Marcos JrPhilippinesPooja RajkumariSouth China Sea
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