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President Marcos to meet with China’s Xi

SAN FRANCISCO — President Marcos said he wants to “bring down the temperature” in the West Philippine Sea, as he meets here today with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid rising cases of Chinese aggression in Philippine waters that risk escalating into full-scale hostilities.

In a video statement, Marcos cited the need to discuss ways to prevent the escalation of tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

He said the matter would be tackled during his meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here. The meeting was supposed to take place yesterday (Philippine time), but it did not push through. 

“We will put together the ways forward because we are continuously trying to maintain the peace. And now that’s what I see the mission of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine military, our fishermen, all of us. It is our basic fundamental mission here… to maintain the peace,” the President said.

“We will get the view of the Chinese President on what we can do to bring down the temperature, to not escalate the situation in the West Philippine Sea. And we will put all of these together so as we’ll be able to strategize for the near future on what the Philippines’ role will be or what is the proper Philippines’ role in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

Chinese coast guard and militia vessels, for a long time now, have been harassing Philippine Coast Guard ships, Filipino fishing boats and other civilian vessels even within Philippine territorial waters.

The Chinese had even used water cannons in some cases to try to stop Philippine vessels from unloading their cargo of supplies and provisions for troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal. Manila filed diplomatic protests in response, but Beijing ignored them, saying it’s the Philippine vessels that were trespassing into Chinese territory. Beijing’s claim over almost the entire South China Sea has already been invalidated in a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague. Beijing has vowed not to honor the ruling, which reaffirms the Philippines’ maritime entitlements.

The South China Sea dispute was also the center of discussions