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Philippines: Marcos Jr. to Stand by South China Sea Ruling

May 27, 2022, 06.40 PM - The Philippines' incoming president vowed to prevent any foreign interference in the running of his country in comments aimed at Beijing’s claims over the disputed South China Sea.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the president-elect of the Philippines, said he would uphold an international ruling against China over disputed waters, vowing on Thursday, May 26 to prevent any foreign interference in the running of his country.

China has staked its claim over nearly all of the South China Sea’s resource-rich waters. In turn, it faces competing claims from other major stakeholders, including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Also readChina Coast Guard Blocks Philippine Boats in South China Sea

“There is no wiggle room there. Our sovereignty is sacred. We will not compromise it in any way,” Marcos Jr. said in his strongest comments yet on handling ties with China.

“We are a sovereign nation with a functioning government. We do not need to be told by anyone how to run our own country,” he said in the interview with his new press secretary that was posted on Facebook. “There is no room for negotiation there. It is sacred, inviolable.”

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 declared that Beijing’s historical claim on the waterway was without basis, a decision that was ignored by China.

Precarious relations with China

After outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte pushed for warmer ties with China by setting aside the ruling over promises of trade and investment, critics say commitments haven’t been met.

Marcos Jr., popularly known as “Bongbong,” is also expected to foster a relationship with China after promising to elevate and expand ties during a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.

Also readPhilippines: Marcos Jr. Wins Presidential Election Landslide

In his latest comments, however, 64-year-old Marcos Jr. said he would not “allow a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon”.

“We have a very important ruling in our favor and we will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. It is not a claim. It is already our territorial right,” Marcos Jr. said.

“We’re talking about China. We talk to China consistently with a firm voice,” but adding, “We cannot go to war with them. That’s the last thing we need right now.”

The pro-China stance could also complicate the Philippines’ relationship with its historical ally, the United States.


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