Chinese navy’s presence in South China Sea is ‘worrisome’, says Marcos

February 28, 2024 - 9:12 AM
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Ferdinand Marcos Jr
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers a joint statement during the visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the Malacanang Palace, in Manila, Philippines, January 10, 2024. (Ezra Acayan/Pool via Reuters)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said the Chinese navy’s presence in the South China Sea is “worrisome” but will not deter his country from defending its maritime territory and protecting its fishermen.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spotted the presence of Chinese navy vessels during a patrol mission by a vessel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) at the hotly contested Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea last week.

The BFAR vessel, which the PCG said was shadowed and blocked by Chinese coast guard ships, also distributed fuel to Filipino fishermen in the area.

“We continue to support all our fishermen, our fisherfolk who make a living from these fishing grounds and we will continue to help them despite… blocking attempts, shadowing,” Marcos told reporters before leaving for a state visit to Australia.

— Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor