Peace in South China Sea still distant; Marcos urges self-restraint from involved parties
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Saying that peace remains a “distant reality” in the South China Sea, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. called on all parties to practice self-restraint amid rising territorial tensions in the disputed waters.
Addressing leaders of the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, Marcos emphasized that the Philippines is not seeking more conflict, but the country is duty-bound to meet any challenge to sovereignty.
“We call upon all parties for self-restraint on all activities that complicate disputes in the South China Sea. We must not undermine regional peace, stability and security. We cannot emphasize enough that actions, not words, should be the ultimate measure of our commitment of securing peace and stability in the South China Sea. Anything else, simply does not suffice,” Marcos told regional leaders in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday evening.
“Our vision for the South China Sea is a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity. Today, sadly, this remains a distant reality,” he said.
The President also said that despite these tensions, the Philippines will continue to uphold its navigational freedom and rights following international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“Let me be clear, we do not seek conflict. But it is our duty as citizens and as leaders, to always rise and meet any challenge to our sovereignty, to our sovereign rights, and our maritime jurisdiction in the South China Sea. No country would expect any less.No country would do any less,” Marcos said.
The South China Sea has seen escalating tensions in recent months.
In August alone, the Chinese Coast Guard attacked Philippine vessels with a water cannon while on a supply run to a military outpost in Ayungin Shoal.
China had also expanded its claim in the South China Sea with a new 10-dash line map that claimed Taiwan and most of the West Philippine Sea.