Bongbong Marcos thanks France’s Macron for backing PH on sea row
In a phone conversation on Wednesday, President Marcos and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed maritime issues in the face of Beijing’s growing aggression in the disputed areas in the South China Sea. It was Macron who initiated the phone call, according to the Presidential Communications Office.
“In the initial part of their phone conversation, the two leaders discussed the security issues facing the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea,” said Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil.
Mr. Marcos told Macron the Philippines had been exerting all efforts “to maintain the peace, to maintain the stability, keep the shipping lanes and airways open” in the West Philippine Sea.
“But may I thank France for all the support that you have given us in terms of our shared values, in terms of following the international law, especially Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and it has been of great help the messages of support and even when you sent French vessels to come and patrol,” Mr. Marcos said.
In July, France reaffirmed its support for the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
The French Embassy has also expressed concern over China’s aggression in the disputed sea, including the swarming of Chinese vessels believed to be its maritime militia.
“We are resolutely opposed to any use of force or threat to do so,” the embassy said in a statement.
During their phone conversation, Mr. Marcos also invited the French President to visit the Philippines.
Macron had earlier extended the invitation for Mr. Marcos to visit France.
Garafil said a group of French ministers is set to visit the country before the year ends to strengthen the bilateral ties and forge more cooperation between the Philippines and France.