Bongbong Marcos: Abide by Unclos to prevent conflict in South China Sea
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has urged all involved parties to abide by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) to ensure that the South China Sea does not become a “nexus for armed conflict.”
Marcos issued the remark on Thursday at the 42nd Asean Summit Retreat Session in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, where he described Unclos as the “constitution of the oceans.”
“We will continue to urge all to abide by the 1982 Unclos, as ‘the constitution of the oceans.’ We must ensure that the South China Sea does not become a nexus for armed conflict,” he said.
READ: Why the Unclos is important to the West Philippine Sea dispute
In his intervention, Marcos said the Philippines is committed to the implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (SCS) and the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct.
“We must avoid the ascendance of might and the aggressive revision of the international order. In an increasingly volatile world, we require constraints on power contained by the force of the rule of law,” he added.
Marcos said the rules-based regional architecture should be underpinned by the Centrality of Asean towards inclusive engagement in the Indo-Pacific, as exemplified in the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which highlighted the four priority areas of cooperation of the Asean Outlook that will serve as guideposts.
He added that as an archipelagic maritime nation, the Philippines advocates a rules-based maritime order anchored on the 1982 Unclos.
He also noted the country’s concern over recent incidents in the South China Sea, in particular the infringements on its sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, which have been affecting fisherfolk and coastal communities.
“Despite the continued incidents of Filipino vessels in our waters and attempts to deny and obstruct our ability to exercise our sovereign rights in our Exclusive Economic Zone, the Philippines will remain firm in upholding and protecting our entitlements under Unclos,” the President said.
Marcos also urged the utmost restraint and immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and expressed concern over the heightened tension in the Korean Peninsula, and the humanitarian crisis and the continuing economic impact caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“We continue to call on Myanmar to abide by and implement the Five-Point Consensus, and for our external partners to complement Asean’s efforts in the context of the Five-Point Consensus,” Marcos said, expressing the Philippines’ full support to Indonesia’s initiatives on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus.
“The Philippines consistently underscores the need for the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to abide by prevailing UN Security Council Resolutions and to engage in dialogue with concerned parties towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he added.
Regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its possible escalation through the use of nuclear weapons, Marcos urged the countries concerned to search for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
The President is in a two-day attendance to the 42nd Asean Summit and Related Summits and is expected to fly back to Manila Thursday.
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