France’s Plan to Conduct Joint Maritime Exercises with the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. welcomes France’s intention to hold joint maritime exercises with the Philippines

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his appreciation for France’s decision to conduct joint maritime exercises with the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea. He emphasized the importance of such collaborations in maintaining stability in the region. President Marcos Jr. acknowledged the support of various countries, including those from afar, who are ready to assist the Philippines in safeguarding its interests.

International community’s support in ensuring freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea

President Marcos Jr. highlighted the significance of the international community’s support in guaranteeing freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea. With the escalating incidents of Chinese intrusion in the area, it is crucial for countries to come together and protect the rights of all nations to navigate freely in these waters. The President underscored the importance of upholding international laws and norms to ensure stability and peace in the region.

France’s efforts to strengthen relations with the Philippines and counter China’s influence

France, with its territories in the South Pacific, aims to enhance its ties with the Philippines as a means to counter China’s growing influence in the region. By participating in the first “multilateral maritime exercise” alongside the Philippines and other countries, France demonstrates its commitment to maintaining a balance of power and deterring any attempts to assert dominance in the West Philippine Sea. This collaboration signifies the shared interest of nations in upholding the principles of a rules-based international order.

China’s claim over the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea

China has laid claim to almost the entire South China Sea, including the majority of the West Philippine Sea. However, this claim was invalidated by an arbitral tribunal ruling in 2016, which favored the Philippines. The ruling affirmed the Philippines’ rights over its exclusive economic zone and rejected China’s expansive territorial claims. It is essential to recognize the legal backing behind the Philippines’ position and the importance of upholding the rule of law in resolving disputes in the region.

Call to reprimand Chinese embassy officials for alleged violations

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. have called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to take action against Chinese embassy officials involved in recording an alleged phone conversation between a Chinese diplomat and a Philippine military official regarding the West Philippine Sea dispute. Año emphasized that the Chinese embassy may have violated Philippine laws, particularly the anti-wiretapping act, and committed serious breaches of diplomatic protocols and conventions. These actions by the Chinese embassy are seen as attempts to spread disinformation and sow discord among the Filipino people.

Concerns over the Chinese embassy’s dissemination of false information

Año criticized the Chinese embassy for repeatedly engaging in the dissemination of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation. He expressed concern over the embassy’s release of spurious transcripts or recordings of alleged conversations between officials of the host country, which aim to create division and disunity among the Filipino people. Año emphasized that these actions constitute serious breaches of the basic norms of international relations and diplomacy. He highlighted the importance of adhering to established channels and protocols when engaging with foreign officials and cautioned against accepting unofficial discussions as binding agreements.

Support for Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos and the need for diplomatic prudence

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, the Western Command Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has taken a leave of absence amidst the controversy. His classmates at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) expressed their support for him and emphasized the importance of exercising caution in handling sensitive reports and refraining from disseminating unverified information. They stressed that such actions could potentially exacerbate tensions or mislead public opinion. The PMA class of 1989 president, Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., echoed Carlos’ sentiments and highlighted the need for diplomatic prudence in dealing with the West Philippine Sea issue.

Conflicting reports about Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos’ status

There are conflicting statements regarding Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos’ current status. One claim suggests that he applied for personal leave, while another states that he was officially relieved as the Western Command Chief. The uncertainty surrounding Carlos’ whereabouts adds to the complexity of the situation and underscores the need for transparency and clear communication in addressing issues related to the West Philippine Sea.

Source: The Manila Times

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