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Updated Jul 2, 2024, 6:25pm EDT

Philippines and China talk tensions

Eloisa Lopez/Reuters
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China and the Philippines agreed to “de-escalate tensions” in the South China Sea following several direct confrontations between the Philippine Navy and the Chinese Coast Guard in recent weeks. Despite “frank and constructive discussions” in Manila on Tuesday, according to the Philippines foreign ministry, officials admitted that “significant differences remain” and did not outline specific actions to ease tensions.

China, which claims most of the sea as its maritime territory, has been using water cannons and military-grade lasers against Philippine Navy ships guarding disputed reefs, which experts have warned is bringing the world “dangerously close” to an armed conflict. Beijing is also testing the extent of Washington’s commitment to defend the Philippines as the US expands its military presence in the country.

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