Swedish defense chief says actions against Philippines in South China Sea threaten global security

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Sweden’s Defense Minister Pal Jonson arrives for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on Oct 11, 2023.

MANILA, Philippines, June 8, (AP): Sweden’s defense chief has expressed alarm over Beijing’s repeated dangerous maneuvers against Philippine vessels in the South China Sea, saying such actions threaten global security, undermine stability and underscore the need to invest “for our security and freedom.”
Defense Minister Pål Jonson spoke Thursday night in a diplomatic reception in Manila for Sweden’s national day after meeting his Philippine counterpart, Gilberto Teodoro Jr., on expanding defense relations. Sweden is one of the possible sources of supersonic fighter jets that the Philippines plans to acquire as its military shifts focus from decades of fighting communist and Muslim insurgencies to territorial defense.
“Let me express my deep concern on the repeated dangerous maneuvers against Philippines vessels that have been taking place in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” Jonson said. He did not mention China in his speech but drew applause from an audience that included top Philippine military and security officials and Western and Asian diplomats.
Jonson used the name the Philippines has adopted for the stretch of waters called the exclusive economic zone extending from its western coast to the South China Sea, which Beijing claims virtually in its entirety and guards closely with its coast guard, navy and other ships.
Confrontations between Chinese and Philippine government ships over two disputed shoals have flared alarmingly since last year, causing collisions.

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