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The Philippines is contemplating the expulsion of China’s ambassador following two recent confrontations with Chinese ships in the disputed South China Sea. This comes after Manila reported that Chinese water cannons targeted its vessels as they attempted to deliver supplies to Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, which China took control of in 2012.

Additionally, on Sunday, Philippine ships resupplying the grounded Sierra Madre on Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands faced water cannon attacks and a collision with the Chinese coastguard, for which Beijing has blamed Manila.

Teresita Daza, a spokesperson for the Philippines’ foreign ministry, announced that the Chinese ambassador had been summoned and new diplomatic protests filed over these incidents. Daza also mentioned that declaring Ambassador Huang Xilian as “persona non grata” in the Philippines is being “seriously considered.”

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines has vowed to defend the nation’s claims in the contested waters, asserting his commitment to protecting Philippine sovereignty. “The aggression and provocations by the China Coast Guard… have further steeled our determination to defend our nation’s sovereignty,” Marcos stated. These incidents have garnered international criticism, with the United States and Europe denouncing China’s actions.

The US State Department accused China of “reckless maneuvers,” urging Beijing to cease its “dangerous and destabilizing conduct” in the South China Sea. Additionally, Sweden expressed deep concern over the weekend’s events, referencing the 2016 international court ruling that dismissed China’s expansive claims in the sea.

These confrontations in the South China Sea, which China claims almost entirely, have heightened tensions. The Philippines maintains that Scarborough Shoal and Second Thomas Shoal, within its exclusive economic zone, are under illegal foreign claim. Meanwhile, China insists that the Philippines provoked the incidents and ignored warnings.

The ongoing dispute in the South China Sea, also claimed in parts by Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam, has escalated tensions with Beijing in recent years, marked by China’s construction of artificial islands and military outposts.


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