The president of the Philippines says he has used a new territorial dispute hotline with China for the first time. The two countries established the channel to avoid escalations in the South China Sea.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he used it after a Chinese Coast Guard vessel reportedly drove off a Filipino fishing boat in a disputed waterway earlier this month.
The incident took place in the Second Thomas Shoal. It is located within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone, but China also claims it. Beijing has yet to comment on the encounter.
Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Beijing several days before the incident. That's when they agreed to create the direct line.
Marcos said the mechanism will take time to fully implement, but stressed it would help protect Filipino fishers.
He also suggested that China must change its behavior, saying the fishermen involved in the incident were unarmed and posed no threat.