Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said over the weekend that China, which is making its presence felt more in the region, poses a “real challenge” for neighboring countries and his country will establish “strong alliances” with its allies to maintain regional stability.
Marcos made the remarks to the Japanese media, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.
He said the Philippines will continue to remain committed to peace and the rules-based order.
Referring to China, he said: “I am afraid that we have to say that the tension has increased rather than decreased in the past months and years.”
Describing the dispute in the South China Sea as “the most complex geopolitical challenge the world has faced,” Marcos said that no country in the world wants a conflict like the Russia-Ukraine war to erupt in Asia and that the search for solutions to the dispute continues.
The South China Sea has been the subject of sovereignty disputes since the littoral countries gained their independence after World War II.
China claimed sovereignty over 80% of the South China Sea with the map it first published in 1947. Coastal neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also claim rights in the region.
Sovereignty disputes over the islets, reefs, shallows and sea dams in the region, especially the Paracel and Spratly islands, occasionally lead to tensions between countries.
The US as well as regional countries oppose China’s construction of military bases on the disputed islands and its long-term maintenance of civilian ship fleets.
In its decision on the application of the Philippines in 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s unilateral sovereignty claims in the South China Sea were not legal.
Source : aa