The Philippines will put up a strong defence of its territory and the rights of its fishermen and is not looking for trouble, its president said on Friday, as a row simmers with China over access to a strategic South China Sea Shoal.
The Philippine coastguard this week said had cut a 300-m floating barrier installed by China that blocked access to the hotly disputed Scarborough Shoal, an area Beijing has controlled for over a decade.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, in his first remarks over the latest flare up, said the Philippines was upholding its rights to fish in its exclusive economic zone.
“What we will do is to continue defending the Philippines, the maritime territory of the Philippines, the rights of our fishermen to catch fish in areas where they are doing it for hundreds of years already,” Marcos told reporters.
(Inputs from Reuters)