mandag 3. juni 2024

Death of a Filipino in South China Sea clashes would be ‘very close’ to act of war, Philippines leader warns

The death of any Filipino citizen at the hands of another country in the South China Sea would be “very close” to an act of war, Philippines President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. warned Friday as his nation faces increasingly fraught clashes with Chinese vessels in the South China Sea.

Marcos delivered the keynote speech of the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, a regional gathering of global security leaders, including US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Adm. Dong Jun. The Philippine president was asked by a member of the audience whether a “red line” would be crossed if Chinese Coast Guard ships, which have frequently deployed water cannons against Philippine vessels in recent months, ended up killing a Filipino sailor.

“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,” he replied. “And our treaty partners, I believe, also hold that same standard,” he added.