Marcos condemns Beijing’s regulation to detain foreigners 'trespassing' in WPS

MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.PCO photo

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has condemned the reported policy of the Chinese government pertaining to the detention of foreign nationals perceived to be trespassing in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In an interview with reporters in Makati City on Saturday, May 18, 2024, Marcos said China’s order for its coast guard to detain foreigners loitering WPS is “unacceptable.”

“That kind of action would be completely unacceptable to the Philippines,” Marcos said.

“I do not talk about operational details, but the position that we take is that it’s unacceptable and we will take whatever measures to always protect our citizens,” he added.

The South China Morning Post earlier reported that the China Coast Guard can detain trespassers without trial for up to 60 days. The report indicated that the order will take effect in June.

China refused to recognize the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands, which affirms the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the WPS.

It has repeatedly insisted on owning almost the entire WPS, including the Ayungin Shoal, where the Philippines’ BRP Sierra Madre was deliberately grounded.

Over the past years, Chinese authorities have been harassing Philippine vessels patrolling in the WPS, oftentimes conducting dangerous maneuvers and water cannoning, which several times resulted in damage to the country’s ships as well as injury to Filipino personnel.

As he addressed new graduates from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) earlier in the day, Marcos urged the incoming soldiers to keep the people safe, the country’s territory secure and its defenses against threats strong.

He ordered the graduates to join the national effort “against intruders who have been disrespecting our territorial integrity, we will vigorously defend what is ours, but our conduct always guided by law and [by] our responsibility as a rules-abiding member of the community of nations.”

“What we are facing now are a blatant disregard of internationally accepted principles and deployment of weapons of mass distraction by parties who seek to drive a wedge between a united citizenry,” said Marcos.

"But people are not fooled. They can see through such schemes. So, these attempts to divert our attention, dissipate our energy better spent on making the country should not draw us away from the urgent tasks ahead. And that is to keep our people safe in their homes, our territory secure, our defenses against threats strong, and our democracy stable," he added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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