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Marcos: Philippines won’t be ‘cowed into silence, submission’ by China

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Thursday the Philippines will not be bullied into silence as he vowed actions to counter China’s aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea. 

“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. Filipinos do not yield,” Marcos said. 

The president issued the statement after the China Coast Guard (CCG) once again blocked and fired water cannons at a Filipino supply vessel last Saturday, damaging the vessel and injuring three soldiers. 

Marcos said the government will implement a “response and 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.” 

Marcos added that he has been in “constant communication” with international allies and partners who offered to help the Philippines in protecting and securing its sovereign rights and jurisdiction while ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. 

“I have given them our requirements and we have been assured that they will be addressed,” he said. 

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III once again reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to Manila in a phone call with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro on Wednesday. 

China on Thursday blamed the “provocations” by the Philippines for rising tensions in the hotly contested waters.

“China will not allow the Philippines to do whatever it wants, and has responded in a reasonable and forceful manner,” a statement from the Chinese defense ministry read.

The flare-up last weekend was the latest in a long-running territorial conflict between Manila and Beijing. 

As a response to the incident, the Philippines summoned a Chinese envoy to protest CCG’s “aggressive actions” near Ayungin Shoal. China’s embassy in the Philippines also complained to Manila over what it called the “illegal intrusion” of Filipino ships into its waters. 

Beijing claims nearly the entire South China Sea, dismissing claims from other