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The Philippine President expressed surprise at China’s actions

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The tension between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea has been a cause for concern among many observers. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed surprise at China’s actions, stating that he believed the Philippines was a friend of China.

China has been rapidly building up its naval fleet, expanding from a green-water navy to a blue-water navy capable of operating in the open ocean. It has launched guided-missile destroyers, amphibious assault ships, and even aircraft carriers.

Western marine security experts, along with the Philippines and the United States, have claimed that China controls a maritime militia consisting of hundreds of vessels.

This unofficial force is used by China to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea and beyond. The United States conducts regular freedom of navigation operations in the region, defending the right to operate in accordance with international law. However, Beijing denounces these operations as illegal.

China’s military buildup is primarily concentrated in the Spratly and Paracel island chains. Through extensive land reclamation, China has constructed artificial islands with airfields, berthing areas, and resupply facilities.

The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Lindsey Ford has stated that these facilities are equipped with advanced weaponry, including stealth fighters, advanced missile systems, and radar capabilities.

China’s actions in the South China Sea have raised concerns among smaller countries like the Philippines. The Philippine Coast Guard remains committed to upholding international law and protecting the rights of the Philippines in its territorial waters.

Philippine President Marcos Jr has taken a stronger stance on the South China Sea issue compared to his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. Both the Philippines and the US are bound by a mutual defense treaty, and Marcos Jr has strengthened relations with the US.

While tensions between the Philippines and China have escalated, the US-Philippine alliance provides Manila with confidence that China will be deterred from overt military force under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. However, it is crucial to find diplomatic solutions to prevent an escalation of the conflict.

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