Philippines says China’s ‘coercive, aggressive’ actions discussed with top U.S. security adviser

Chinese Maritime Militia vessels are pictured near the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, March 5, 2024. REUTERS/Adrian Portugal/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Published April 2, 2024
MANILA, April 2 (Reuters) – The Philippines on Tuesday said its national security adviser and his U.S. counterpart discussed “coercive, aggressive and deceptive actions” by Beijing in the South China Sea, as a diplomatic row intensifies between the two Asian neighbours.
Philippine National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano “expressed his appreciation for the United States’ continued assurances and reaffirmation of its ironclad commitment” to their alliance, the Philippine National Security Council said in a statement.
The phone call on Monday was on the heels of a series of maritime run-ins and heated verbal exchanges between China and the Philippines that has triggered concern about an escalation at sea.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said last week there would be “countermeasures” against aggression by China’s coastguard, while Beijing accused the Philippines of treachery and reneging on a promise to tow away an old naval vessel grounded intentionally on a disputed shoal. Manila denies ever making that pledge.


RELATED: South China Sea: Philippines urged to prioritise diplomacy even as navy prepares for ‘worst-case scenario’

  • Manila is doubling down on efforts to counter China’s ‘aggressive and dangerous attacks’ in its waters, sparking concerns it could raise the risk of an armed conflict
  • While Manila should engage its allies and bolster its defence capabilities, the key to resolving the row is through ‘negotiations and direct talks’, analysts say

Published April 2, 2024

As tensions escalate in the South China Sea, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr’s administration says it is refining its strategy to protect its territorial claims and ensure the monthly resupply mission to the Second Thomas Shoal, following recent confrontations with the Chinese coastguard.

Analysts expressed concern over the growing military posturing, emphasising the urgent need for diplomatic negotiations alongside bolstering defence capabilities to prevent the dispute from spiralling into open conflict.

Philippine Armed Forces chief General Romeo Brawner said he had spoken with the nation’s coastguard, navy and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on updating troop rotations and the logistics for resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre, a World War II navy ship that was grounded at the Second Thomas Shoal to reinforce Manila’s territorial claims over the surrounding area.

“We discussed many [issues] during our security cluster meeting, not just the ground operation. But we can do it as a country using all the instruments available to us,” he told reporters, adding the agencies were exploring all available countermeasure options.



RELATED: Proposed Senate resolution seeks diplomatic countermeasures amid China harassment

Published April 1, 2024

A proposed resolution urging the government to exert all legal and diplomatic countermeasures against China amid continued tension in the West Philippine Sea was filed in the Senate.

Senate Resolution No. 980 urged all relevant agencies to “exhaust and pursue all the necessary mechanisms… and pursue such other diplomatic courses of action, as may be deemed necessary to put an end to the continued aggression and illegal activities of China in the West Philippine Sea to protect our people and our national territory and ensure peace and stability in the region.”

The resolution also condemned the “unprovoked aggression, continued harassment, and illegal and dangerous actions” of China in the disputed waters.

It was filed by Senator Joel Villanueva.




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