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Marcos says 'nothing new' on call by China's Xi to prepare for sea row

BERLIN - President Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. said Wednesday that there is nothing new with China's President Xi Jinping move of urging China's armed forces to coordinate preparations for military conflicts at sea.

''Well frankly I don’t think there is anything new there. That’s what they’ve been doing already. They have defined the 10-dash line and they continue to defend it. For our part, we will continue to defend what we…. and the international community has recognized it as our maritime territory,'' Marcos said in an interview with reporters.

''Although he did not, President Xi Jinping did not state that outright until now, that really has really been the policy since I think years already, for the last two or three years. So, I’m not surprised but we will have to continue to do what we can to defend our maritime territory in the face of perhaps of a more active attempt by the Chinese to annex some of our territory,'' he added. 

Earlier, Xi called on the Chinese military to protect the country's maritime rights and interests and the development of the maritime economy.

It was necessary to build cyberspace defense system and improve the ability to maintain national network security, Xi was quoted by state television as saying when he met a delegation of the People's Liberation Army and Armed Police Force at China's annual parliament meeting. 

Marcos had said the Philippines was not rejecting China's proposals to resolve issues in the South China Sea but was questioning its neighbor's premise based on its 10-dash-line map. 

At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Marcos indicated that the Philippines continued to question China's historical claims.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration concluded in 2016 that China had no legal basis to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within its "nine-dash line."

However, Beijing has continued to disregard the ruling.

In Australia last week, Marcos said the Philippines would push back against China in case its sovereignty in the region will be ignored.  —LDF, GMA Integrated News