Marcos Tells Soldiers to Prepare for ‘More Worrisome’ Threat

(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told his nation’s northern army unit to be ready for any eventuality amid tensions between China and Taiwan, while also warning of a “more worrisome” threat to his country.

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The Philippines is within China’s area of interest due to the proximity of its northern portion to Taiwan, Marcos told soldiers Monday, according to a statement released by his communications office. He spoke at Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in the province of Isabela, one of four new sites that the US military can access under a defense deal that was expanded last year.

The Southeast Asian nation should prepare for a “more pronounced” external threat, the president was also quoted as saying in the statement, without specifying. Marcos also repeated his pledge not to yield any Philippine territory.

The Philippines is near two potential flashpoints in the region: Taiwan and the South China Sea. Manila and Beijing have had tense encounters in disputed waters, most recently involving a supposed attempt by China to seize supplies and blocking a medical evacuation from a Philippine military outpost there.

Manila said on Saturday that it will continue to maintain and supply its South China Sea outposts without seeking permission from any other nation, dismissing Beijing’s demand to do so as “absurd, nonsense and unacceptable.”

--With assistance from Cliff Venzon.

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