Killing of Filipino in disputed waters act of war, says President Marcos

Philippine leader addresses the annual Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore

Anadolu Agency June 01, 2024
President of the Philippines Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Romualdez Marcos Jr. PHOTO: ANADOLU AGENCY


"Wilful" killing of any Filipino citizen, military or civilian, in disputed waters of the South China Sea would be “an act of war,” Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Friday.

“That would certainly increase the level of response,” Marcos said at the annual Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore, in response to a question on what would be Manila’s response if Chinese water cannons killed a Filipino sailor. The security forum is attended by defence chiefs from around the world, including the US and China.

“If by a wilful act a Filipino - not only serviceman but even Filipino citizen - is killed … that is what I think very, very close to what we define as an act of war and therefore we will respond accordingly," Marcos said.

Manila and Beijing have witnessed bilateral relations spiral down due to a longstanding dispute over territory in the South China Sea.

Read also: US, Philippines kick off joint military drills in South China Sea with 16,000 troops

China has fired water cannons to stop Filipino vessels from reaching the disputed islets.

“But once we get to that point, that is certainly, we would have crossed the Rubicon, certainly crossed the Rubicon. Is that the red line? Almost certainly it’s going to be a red line,” he said.

Marcos said parties in the South China Sea should "transcend geopolitics, find common ground, [and] work to strengthen global institutions."

"We need to begin by resoundingly rejecting misguided interpretations that paint our region as a mere theatre of geopolitical rivalries," he added.


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