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Thursday, June 13, 2024

PBBM to highlight challenges in WPS during Singapore meet

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President Ferdinand Marcos said he would discuss today the Philippines’ legal and geopolitical position on the West Philippine Sea at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The President’s keynote address this evening, which the Palace described as “historic,”would tackle the escalating tension between the Philippines and China in WPS, which he described as crucial to global trade and the economy.

“The fact that they asked the Philippine President to come and speak on that very subject is significant in the sense that it is a recognition that there are challenges that are facing the Philippines, specifically,” Mr. Marcos said in an interview with the media in Brunei before he left for Singapore.

“And not only the Philippines – this affects the region and it affects the world. So, what I will present in the Shangri-la forum is going to essentially try to explain the position of the Philippines for both legally and geopolitically and diplomatically. And how we see the ways forward for the Philippines and for the region,” he added.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, organized by IISS since 2002, gathers defense ministers, military chiefs, and security experts to discuss worldwide security challenges.

WARM WELCOME. Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez receives a warm welcome from Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivien Balakrishnan when they met Thursday morning at Singapore’s Foreign Ministry. The Speaker is in Singapore to accompany President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. who is set to deliver the keynote address at the opening of the 21st International Institute of Strategic Studies-Shangri-La Dialogue on May 31, 2024. President Marcos is the first Philippine President invited to address the IISS-Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier defense forum.

Previous keynote speakers have included Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Days before his back-to-back trip to Brunei and Singapore, President Marcos condemned China’s order to arrest any foreign nationals trespassing in the South China Sea, which includes areas that fall under the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

“That kind of action would be completely unacceptable to the Philippines,” he said.

“That is unacceptable, and we will take whatever measures to always protect our citizens,” Mr. Marcos added.

China, for its part, said the Philippines should not be worried about the new rules on trespassing foreigners in the South China Sea for “as long there is no illegal behavior.”

In a regular press conference Wednesday night, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the rules aim to standardize law enforcement and better uphold maritime order.

Mao added that the new rules are consistent with universal practices, and “individuals and entities have no need for concern as long as they have not done anything illicit.”

Mao said China is open to a dialogue with the Philippines to address sea concerns between the two countries.

“China’s door of dialogue and communication with the Philippines remains open. But it’s important to note that dialogue requires sincerity and whatever is agreed in dialogue must be acted upon, rather than talking about the need for dialogue while continuing to make provocations,” the Chinese official said.

“It is the Philippines, not China, that has escalated the situation and made repeated provocations in the South China Sea,” Mao added.

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