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Locsin tells legislators PH won’t heed Chinese demand to keep Western powers off South China Sea

/ 07:21 PM September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines won’t accede to China’s insistence to keep Western powers— including the United States—out of the South China Sea.

“China’s demand to exclude Western powers from the South China Sea— that I will never allow,” said Locsin at a budget hearing in the House of Representatives on Monday (Sept. 21). “The Western powers must be present in the South China Sea as a balancer,” he told lawmakers.

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China and some Asean countries, including the Philippines, have long-running disputes over the South China Sea and have been negotiating for a Code of Conduct.

Beijing, which claims ownership of nearly the entire South China Sea, has accused the US of interfering in efforts of China and Asean to resolve the disputes through consultation.

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The US has recently hardened its stance in the South China Sea and boosted its military deployment.

“I can swear to you, Western powers will be in the South China Sea. We believe in the balance of power, that the freedom of the Filipino people depends on the balance of power in the South China Sea,” Locsin said.

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