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Marcos: China’s military bases in WPS now ‘closer’ to PH coastline

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. raised his concern about China’s rampant building of bases in the West Philippine Sea during a security talk in Hawaii.

After saying that the situation involving the disputed waters has now become “more dire,” Marcos said Monday (Philippine time) that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China continues to occupy parts of the West Philippine Sea.

“The nearest reefs that the PLA has started to show interest in, in terms of slowly using these shoals… for building bases, that’s what they are. They have come closer and closer to the Philippines coastline,” he said during The Daniel K. Inouye Speaker Series.

Marcos added that the “nearest one is now around 60 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine coast.”

The president then reiterated the need to strengthen the Philippines' partnership with more nations, the United States in particular, as the country deals with outside forces.

READ: Marcos: WPS tensions ‘require’ US-PH partnership

For years, news reports surfaced regarding China’s construction of military bases and artificial islands within the contested waterway.

China has also been launching aggressive tactics against Philippine vessels as it continues to reject an arbitral ruling that invalidated its maritime claims.

In his speech, Marcos said the Philippines “will not give up a single square inch of our territory to any foreign power.”

“Supported by the rules-based international order and our growing partnerships, both time-tested and new ones, we will insist on the preservation of the sovereignty and integrity of the country, while working closely with international partners in the bilateral, regional, and multilateral settings in developing rules and processes to address these challenges,” he said.