News Release

PBBM calls on ASEAN, other states to exercise boldness while remaining committed to international law in the South China Sea issue

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other nations to show toughness while remaining committed to international law in the face of aggressive maneuvers by Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, infringing on sovereign rights of other nations in the region.

In his intervention for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit Leaders’ Retreat in Melbourne, President Marcos stood firm that the Philippine government will not yield an inch of the country’s sovereignty, and will continue to defend its rights based on international law.

“It is thus my government’s position that we will not yield an inch of our sovereign territory, as we are committed to defending our rights within the parameters recognized by international law,” President Marcos told the ASEAN leaders.

“It therefore behooves the Philippines, ASEAN, and Australia and all like-minded states to exercise the boldness and sense of responsibility to remain committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes and to maintain respect for the rules-based international order and multilateralism, especially in the face of deliberate efforts by others to denigrate, deny and even violate international law,” he added.

President Marcos underscored that it remains the responsibility of each state to promote and protect the rule of international law “as much as any other state facing wanton military might.”

The President thanked the Australia and other nations for promoting a rules-based international order grounded on international law as he acknowledged ASEAN’s oldest Dialogue Partner’s support that recognize the Philippines’ rights under international law in the South China Sea.

“It is the Philippines’ hope that ASEAN continues to collectively and constructively address challenges together,” President Marcos said.

“Let me be clear: We encourage our ASEAN neighbors to frame conflicts not simply as rivalry between major powers, but as direct challenges to the sovereignty of independent states whose well-being, both politically and economically, are interdependent and intertwined,” he added.

Before concluding his speech, President Marcos emphasized that “peace is both a global public good and one of humanity’s highest values that no one state should put at risk, for whatever gain or motive” as he expressed gratitude to Australia for convening the Special Commemorative Summit and the first Leaders’ Retreat for ASEAN this year.

The chief executive is hoping the leaders’ meeting will set the pace for constructive dialogue for the rest of the chairmanship this year as they address the region’s shared challenges together. PND