Marcos: No country backs China ‘10-dash line’ claim

Marcos: No country backs China ‘10-dash line’ claim

/ 05:32 AM March 14, 2024

President Marcos and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz take questions from the media

BERLIN BILATERALS President Marcos and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz take questions from the media during their joint press conference at The Chancellery, one of the highlights of the Philippine leader’s working visit to Germany on Tuesday. —PPA POOL

BERLIN—President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday continued to question the premise of China’s proposals to resolve its maritime dispute with the Philippines, particularly the so-called 10-dash line that it cites as basis for claiming practically the entire South China Sea.

In a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz here following their bilateral meeting at The Chancellery, Mr. Marcos stressed that China’s 10-dash line claim had not been recognized by any country.


The President also said Manila did not reject any proposition by China but questioned the basis of its proposals to offer a resolution to the maritime dispute.


Mr. Marcos made the remarks following a disclosure from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that Beijing submitted several concept papers offering ways to “manage” the dispute.

Leaked meeting

The DFA on Tuesday expressed displeasure and surprise over a report (not in the Inquirer) that a Chinese official had leaked details about the negotiations held last year regarding “maritime-related proposals.”

The proposals were “met with some kind of inaction” by the Philippine government, the Chinese official was quoted as saying.

In a statement, the DFA said it found most of the proposals to be against the country’s interests, like one that “would be deemed as acquiescence or recognition” that China has jurisdiction over Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.

Reiterating the DFA statement, Marcos said “We have not rejected any proposals that China has made [to] us. But the premise is something that we question.”

“The premise that China has made is that their territory follows the 10-dash line. This is not recognized by any country, by any international body, and certainly not the Philippines,” he added.


Dim ‘way forward’

He noted that the Philippines’ baselines were already well established, and that China intruded on the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“Until that premise that China has made in terms of all these discussions with the Philippines [is changed], it is very difficult to see a way forward,” Mr. Marcos said.

He added that as the President, he has no choice but to fulfill his duty to defend the country’s territorial area, and that he would continue to do so.

He also expressed a wish to see a “more peaceful situation” in the South China Sea, part of which falls within the Philippines’ EEZ and is referred to as the West Philippine Sea.

“What we are worried about is the increase in tensions that are happening,” he said, referring to China’s recent acts of aggression.

Scholz assurance

Mr. Marcos said it was in the interest of all nations to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, where about 60 percent of global trade passes through.

“It’s not solely the interest of the Philippines or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or the Indo-Pacific region but the entire world. It is all our interest to keep it a safe passage for all international commerce that goes on in the South China Sea,” he said.

Scholz agreed with Mr. Marcos and reiterated his support for Manila “in ensuring that rights are being protected.”

“Respect for international law is of greatest importance to us and this is equally true for the international law that governs international navigation. We have the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), we have the arbitral tribunal and important judgments have been passed over the course of the years. I believe it to be very important to adhere to the legislation in place,” he said.

It was a reference to the 2016 arbitral ruling that voided China’s maritime claim, which Beijing has since refused to recognize.

Expanded cooperation

Mr. Marcos also sought to expand defense cooperation between Manila and Berlin “beyond training” by including “new areas” like maritime and cybersecurity.

He said he was pleased with Germany’s increased interest in enhancing maritime cooperation and welcomed “more initiatives to enrich this partnership.”

The President cited Germany’s generosity in providing training for the Armed Forces of the Philippines since 1974, when the two nations signed an agreement on defense cooperation.

He also thanked Germany for its continued support for the capacity-building of the Philippine Coast Guard.

At the bilateral meeting, Mr. Marcos was accompanied by Speaker Martin Romualdez, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo and Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Maria Elena Algabre, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, and Philippine Ambassador to Berlin Susan Natividad.

Filipino community

Mr. Marcos again spoke about the South China Sea issue in an event with the Filipino community at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, assuring them he would not yield any part of Philippine territory to other nations.

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“We are having problems with other nations which are claiming our territories as theirs. But you can be assured that we will not let that happen, because it is very clear that it is part of the Philippines,” Mr. Marcos said.

TAGS: Bongbong marcos, China, Germany, Philippines

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