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South China Sea: New bitter exchange between Manila and Beijing

South China Sea: New bitter exchange between Manila and Beijing

China and the Philippines exchanged new accusations on Thursday after new skirmishes in the South China Sea, where the two countries dispute claims.

• Read also: New tensions between Manila and Beijing after an incident in the South China Sea

• Read also: Manila accuses Beijing after a new incident in the South China Sea

Three Filipino soldiers were injured on Saturday in a clash with the Chinese Coast Guard, which intercepted their ship and damaged it with powerful water cannons off one of the disputed reefs, the second Thomas Atoll.

“We do not seek conflict with any country, especially countries that claim to be our friends, but we will not allow ourselves to be silenced, subjugated or subjugated,” Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos said in a statement.

He promised “over the coming weeks” a series of “proportionate, measured and reasonable responses and countermeasures to the open, sustained, unlawful, coercive, aggressive and dangerous attacks carried out by the Chinese Coast Guard, Chinese officials and the Chinese maritime militia.” “The Filipinos will not surrender,” he added.

Around the same time, China blamed Philippine “provocations” for the current escalation in tensions.

“The Philippine side’s provocations are the direct cause of the recent aggravation of the dispute in the South China Sea,” the ministry said in a statement. He added, “China will not allow the Philippines to do what it wants, and it has responded reasonably and strongly.”

According to Manila, the ship that was attacked on Saturday was on a routine rotation and resupply mission to Second Thomas Atoll, where Filipino soldiers are stationed in a decommissioned boat.

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In recent months, Chinese ships have already used water cannons and collided with Filipino ships near the atoll, which is located about 200 kilometers from the western Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000 kilometers from Hainan Island, the closest large Chinese territory.

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands off the coasts of several neighboring countries, despite an international court ruling in 2016.