Marcos: South China Sea row not just competition between ‘two powerful countries’
JAKARTA, Indonesia — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. laid to rest any narratives that watered down the South China Sea territorial disputes into a competition between two powerful nations.
The President said that boiling down the conflict also undermines the sovereignty of the countries caught in the tension.
“The Philippines firmly rejects misleading narratives that frame the disputes in the South China Sea solely to the lens of strategic competition between two powerful countries. This not only denies us our independence, our agency, but it also disregards our own legitimate interests” Marcos told regional leaders in the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Tuesday evening.
While Marcos did not specify which nations these are, both China and the United States (US) have expressed their stand on the matter: with the former claiming most of the South China Sea for itself and the latter bolstering other claiming countries’ freedom of navigation.
Marcos also gave a grave warning to Asean leaders, saying that it may spell dire consequences if these tensions continue to escalate between global powerhouses.
“As tensions and distrust between the great powers escalate, so too, the prospect of miscalculation that threatens to engulf the region with the severest consequences for all of us. It is imperative that we leverage the Asean regional architecture, to serve as the diplomatic bridge that promises mutual understanding, strategic trust, and peaceful settlements of disputes.
According to Marcos, the Asean’s commitment to peace and security in the South China Sea is measured by actions, not just words.
“History will ultimately judge, whether the supremacy of the rule of law will prevail, ushering an era where all nations truly stand as equals, independent and unswayed by any single, outside power, the challenge for us remain: we must never allow the international peaceful order to be subjected to the forces of might, applied for a hegemonic ambition. The future of peace, rest now on how we, together, face this challenge to that peace,” said the President.