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Philippines won’t raise South China Sea tensions, won’t use water cannons

In a major development, Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Monday his country would not use water cannons or any offensive weapons in the South China Sea, a significant move that would ease tensions between the two nations.

“We will not follow the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese vessels down that road,” Marcos told reporters, adding the mission of the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard was to lower tensions, and there were no plans to install water cannons on vessels.

China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Philippines and China have had several confrontations at disputed atolls in the South China Sea, most notably at the Second Thomas Shoal. Last week, Manila protested Beijing’s use of water cannons against Filipino vessels at the submerged reef, describing it as harassment and “dangerous manoeuvres”, after a rise in tensions in recent months.

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