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Marcos calls on China to follow UNCLOS, international law on South China Sea

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he told Chinese officials to uphold international law and follow the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regarding areas of the South China Sea.

In an interview with reporters, Marcos said he told Chinese officials of the importance of international law, given the impact of trade that flows through the said area.

“Well, sinabi ko nga na kailangan ay sundan natin ang batas, kailangan sundan natin ang international law, sundan natin ang UNCLOS para naman… dahil napakahalaga ng trade na dumadaan diyan sa South China Sea, hindi lamang para sa Asia kundi para sa buong mundo,” he said at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.

(Well, I said that we have to follow the law, we have to follow international law, we follow the UNCLOS so that… because of the importance of trade that passes through the South China Sea not only for Asia but for the whole world.)

Marcos was responding to a query regarding his talk with China regarding the dispute, a day after he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during which they had a brief conversation on the partnership of the two countries, according to the Office of the Press Secretary.

Before his trip to Cambodia, Marcos last week said he hoped to discuss issues regarding the West Philippine Sea with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as he said it would be "impossible" to talk to China without any mention of it.

To recall, the Philippines challenged China in 2013 over its claims on the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines was successful in its challenge and a landmark ruling by an international tribunal invalidated Beijing’s massive claims in the South China Sea.

China refused to acknowledge the ruling, and was accused by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs of illegal fishing and preventing local vessels from carrying out a resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal in June.

Ukraine, Russia

In the same interview, Marcos called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to intervene in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has continued to impact global supply chains.

“Sabi ko na kailangan talaga ay matigil ang giyera at mag-usap na sila sa lalong madaling panahon at dapat ang ASEAN ay gawin ang lahat ng kayang gawin para tulungan ‘yung prosesong ‘yan,” he said.

(I said that the war had to stop, and they needed to talk as soon as possible. And ASEAN must do all it can to help the process.)

Marcos last week called on the concerned parties to return to diplomacy, citing the impact of the ongoing conflict on global food and energy security, and commodity supply chains. — DVM, GMA Integrated News