Challenges in Resolving South China Sea Tensions: President Marcos Expresses Concerns and Emphasizes the Importance of Defending the Philippines’ Interests

MARCOS IN BERLIN President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos and other Philippine officials spend time with the Filipino community in Berlin on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
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Berlin: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on China’s Proposals in the South China Sea

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his skepticism towards China’s proposals to ease tensions in the South China Sea, stating that it is difficult to see a way forward with these proposals. He highlighted that China’s proposals are based on its expansive territorial claims, which are not recognized by any country.

According to Marcos, the premise of China’s proposals is that its territory follows the 10-dash line, a claim that is not recognized internationally. He emphasized that the Philippines questions this premise, as it intrudes on the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

As the President of the Philippines, Marcos stated that it is his duty to defend the territorial area, maritime, and land-based territory of the country, as defined by the first article of the Philippine Constitution. He asserted that the Philippines will continue to defend its territory.

The Importance of Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea

Marcos highlighted the significance of ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, which handles 60 percent of the world’s trade. He emphasized that it is not solely the interest of the Philippines or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but the entire world, to maintain a safe passage for international commerce in the South China Sea.

China claims control over almost the entire South China Sea based on the 10-dash line drawn on its official maps. However, Marcos emphasized that it is in the interest of all nations to uphold the principles of freedom of navigation in the region.

The Philippines’ Rejection of China’s Maritime Proposals

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that it received several maritime-related proposals from China last year. However, the DFA stated that these proposals could not be considered as they are against the Philippines’ interests.

One of the proposals involved actions that would be deemed as acquiescence or recognition of China’s control and administration over the Ayungin Shoal. The Philippines rejected this proposal, citing violations of the 1987 Constitution and international law.

President Marcos assured Filipinos in Germany that he would not yield any part of the Philippine territory, particularly in the disputed West Philippine Sea. He reiterated that the West Philippine Sea clearly belongs to the Philippines.

During his speech to the Filipino community in Germany, Marcos emphasized that the Philippines will not allow other countries to claim its territory. He expressed gratitude for Germany’s support in ensuring a secure and peaceful South China Sea.

Marcos highlighted the shared commitment of Germany and the Philippines to the rules-based order and the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). He mentioned his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, where both leaders reaffirmed their countries’ dedication to promoting a rules-based international system.

In conclusion, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his reservations about China’s proposals in the South China Sea due to their basis on expansive territorial claims. He emphasized the importance of freedom of navigation in the region and the Philippines’ commitment to defending its territory. The rejection of China’s maritime proposals by the Philippines was based on constitutional and international law considerations. Marcos also acknowledged Germany’s support in ensuring a secure and peaceful South China Sea and highlighted the shared commitment to a rules-based international system.

Source: The Manila Times

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