Philippines boosts maritime security as China tension rises


Manila: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered his government to strengthen coordination maritime security To face “many serious challenges” territorial integrity And peace, as the dispute with China escalates.
The order, signed on Monday and made public on Sunday, does not mention China but follows a series of bilateral maritime confrontations and mutual accusations over the disputed territory. South China Sea,
China's Foreign Ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on Sunday.
Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, which is a channel for more than $3 trillion of ship-borne commerce annually. China's claims match those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. In 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China's claims had no legal basis.
The latest flare-up occurred last weekend, when China used water cannon to disrupt a Philippine resupply mission to the Second Thomas Shoal for troops protecting a warship that was deliberately sunk on a reef 25 years ago.
Marcos said in the order, “Despite our efforts to promote stability and security in our maritime domain, the Philippines faces a number of serious challenges that threaten the territorial integrity as well as the peaceful existence of Filipinos “
The president vowed on Thursday to implement countermeasures against “illegal, forceful, aggressive and dangerous attacks” by China's coast guard.
His order expands and reorganizes the government's Maritime Council, which includes the National Security Advisor, the Solicitor General, the National Intelligence Coordination Agency chief, and the South China Sea Task Force.
The order appears to expand the role of the military by naming not only the navy but also the Armed Forces of the Philippines among the agencies supporting the council.
The designated National Maritime Council will be the central body to formulate strategies to ensure an “integrated, coordinated and effective” framework for the Philippines' maritime security and domain awareness.
Marcos increased the number of agencies supporting the council from nine to 13, including the Space Agency and the University of the Philippines' Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.

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