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Let's not be afraid of China

Philippine Army Commander Romeo Brawner Jr. pins a medal on a Navy member involved in Monday's events in the South China Sea.  The Philippine Army distributed the photo.

Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said after a violent confrontation at sea earlier this week that the Philippines will not be intimidated by China.

“We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated or oppressed by anyone,” President Marcos said in his appearance at the Philippine naval base on Palawan Island, which lies east of the Spratly Islands and the disputed atoll where the standoff occurred.

The Chinese Coast Guard intervened when several boats from the Philippine Navy were en route to Thomas Shoal II Atoll in the southern South China Sea on Monday. Several members of the Philippine military are said to have been injured in a series of incidents in which Chinese coast guards rammed Philippine boats and attacked them, among other things, with knives and axes.

The atoll is one of several disputed areas in the South China Sea, claimed by China and the Philippines, among other countries. In 1999, the Philippines intentionally beached an old warship on the sandy bottom there to mark its presence. Military personnel are also stationed there, and the boats that were attacked were on their way there to store supplies.

China describes this as the Philippines' encroachment on Chinese territory and that the country's coast guard acted with professionalism and restraint.

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The President of the Philippines honored about 80 soldiers who participated in the clash, including a man who lost one of his thumbs.

Among others, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Australia condemned China's actions.