Philippines President Marcos Asserts Sovereignty in Maritime Disputes

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered a powerful address before the Australian Parliament in Canberra, seeking support from Australia and other allies in the Philippines’ maritime disputes with China. He emphasized that the Philippines is on the frontline against actions that undermine peace and stability in the region, and vowed that the country will not yield.

Marcos made it clear that he would not allow any foreign power to take even “one square inch” of the country’s territory, and that the Philippines remains firm in defending its sovereignty. He drew a parallel to the country’s situation in 1942, highlighting that then as now, the Philippines is resolute in defending its sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

Recent developments in the West Philippine Sea, including the presence of Chinese Navy ships and the jamming of electronic communications of Philippine vessels, were described by the President as “worrisome.” He stressed that peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region have come under threat.

In addressing the Australian Parliament, Marcos recognized the need for collaboration and partnership in the face of challenges to the rule of law, stability, and peace. He emphasized that no single country or force can counter these challenges alone, and called for joint efforts with partners to confront the common challenges confronting the region.

The President highlighted the importance of protecting the South China Sea as a vital, critical, global artery, as it is crucial to the preservation of regional and global peace. He emphasized the shared interest in keeping the seas free and open and ensuring unimpeded passage and freedom of navigation. Marcos underscored the need to uphold, preserve, and defend the unified and universal character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the constitution of the oceans.

Marcos emphasized the need for the Philippines and Australia to reinforce each other’s strength and protect the peace that has been fought for and jealously guarded. He recognized Australia as a natural partner in efforts to defend, preserve, and uphold the open, inclusive, and rules-based international order, governed by international law and informed by the principles of equity and justice.

The President acknowledged the deep friendship and shared history between the Philippines and Australia, noting that the strategic partnership between the two countries has become vital in countering and resolving geopolitical polarities and strategic competitions that threaten peace in the region. He highlighted that while the world is beset by unresolved inequities and inequalities, as well as the threats posed by powerful and transformative technologies and climate change, joint efforts are essential to maintaining political and social order.

President Marcos’s address to the Australian Parliament showcased the Philippines’ determination to protect its territorial integrity and uphold the principles of international law. By seeking support from Australia and other allies, he emphasized the need for collective action in ensuring peace and stability in the region. The strategic partnership between the Philippines and Australia serves as a beacon of hope in countering geopolitical challenges and pursuing common aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future.

Source: The Manila Times

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