But ‘territorial challenge’ exists for claiming West PH Sea —PBBM
Vowing not to surrender even a square inch of territory, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. asserted the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, saying there is no “territorial conflict” with China.
Instead, Mr. Marcos said what exists is a “territorial challenge” with Beijing claiming what is part of the Philippines.
“The position that the Philippines takes is that we have no territorial conflict with China. What we have [is] China claiming territory that belongs to the Philippines,” Mr. Marcos said in an interview with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who hosted the meeting with the Asia Society in New York Saturday morning (Philippine time).
Mr. Marcos told members of Asia Society that incursions in the West Philippine Sea has become “an issue right at the gut of our people.”
‘No…“Our fishermen are not allowed to continue with their livelihoods to fish in areas where they have fished for the past 30, 40 generations.
This diplomatic, this territorial challenge that we have – I would like to point out that this is the first national election in the Philippines where foreign policy was an issue with the people,” he added.
Aside from the Philippines and China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan also have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.
And while Mr. Marcos promised to continue working with all claimant-countries to solve the issues “through diplomacy and dialogue,” he said the Philippines will stand firm on its position in the West Philippine Sea.
“I will not preside over any process that will abandon even a square inch of the territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power,” he said.
He underscored the importance of the country’s bilateral ties with the United States to keep peace and order in the disputed waters.
“We know that we can count on the United States to uphold the international law-based order, freedom of navigation and overflight, and the sustainable use and development of maritime resources. But equally important, we look to the United States to promote peace, security, and prosperity,” the President said.
US President Joe Biden, in his meeting with Mr. Marcos on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, earlier reaffirmed Washington’s iron-clad commitment to defend the Philippines.
This prompted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin to assert that countries outside Asia should avoid interfering in regional efforts to maintain peace.
“There has been no problem with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. China always respects and supports the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all countries in the South China Sea in accordance with international law,” Wang said.
“China will continue to properly handle maritime disputes with countries directly concerned, including the Philippines, through dialogue and consultation, and work with ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. We hope that countries outside the region will earnestly respect the efforts of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he added.
The Philippines earlier scored a victory against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands in 2016.
The arbitration court declared Beijing’s claim over nearly the entire South China Sea as illegal.
China, however, has refused to acknowledge the ruling.