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Marcos Jr. Warns: Killing a Filipino in the West Philippine Sea Nears ‘Act of War’

MANILA, June 1, 2024 — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has issued a stern warning that the killing of any Filipino serviceman or citizen in the West Philippine Sea by a willful act would come dangerously close to an act of war. This statement underscores the Philippines’ readiness to respond to such provocations, particularly in light of China’s increasing aggression in the region.

Speaking at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue on Friday, President Marcos Jr. addressed the potential triggers that could compel Manila to invoke its Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States. He made it clear that the death of a Filipino sailor or citizen due to China’s aggressive actions would significantly elevate the level of response from the Philippines.

“If a Filipino citizen is killed by a willful act, that is, I think, very, very close to what we define as an act of war, and therefore we will respond accordingly,” Marcos stated. He emphasized that the Philippines’ treaty partners, including the United States, share this perspective and would support the Philippines in such incidents.

This warning comes amid escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea, where the Philippines has accused China of increasingly aggressive behavior. In March, three Philippine troops were injured following a water cannon attack by Chinese Coast Guard vessels attempting to block a Philippine resupply mission. Such actions, Marcos noted, have already caused injuries and raised the stakes of the ongoing maritime disputes.

“We already have suffered injury, but thank God, we have not yet gotten to the point where any of our participants, civilian or otherwise, have been killed,” Marcos remarked. “But once we get to that point, that is certainly crossing the Rubicon. Is that a red line? Almost certainly it’s going to be a red line.”

In his keynote speech at Asia’s top defense forum, Marcos condemned China’s “illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions” that violate the Philippines’ sovereignty. He reaffirmed the Philippines’ unwavering commitment to protecting its maritime rights, as upheld by international law.

“The life-giving waters of the West Philippine Sea flow in the blood of every Filipino. We cannot allow anyone to detach it from the totality of the maritime domain that renders our nation whole,” he asserted.

President Marcos Jr. reiterated that the Philippines would defend its sovereignty “to the last square inch, to the last square millimeter,” emphasizing the crucial role of international support, particularly from the United States, in maintaining regional peace and security.

This news article highlights the gravity of the situation in the West Philippine Sea and the Philippines’ stance against China’s aggression, underlining the importance of international alliances and the defense of national sovereignty.


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