News Release

PBBM: PH to continue to engage China through diplomatic means but will push back ties if ‘sworn principles’ are questioned or ignored

The Philippines will be compelled to push back its partnership with the People’s Republic of China when the principle of the two countries is questioned or ignored amid tensions in the South China Sea.

In his speech at the Lowy Institute Peace and Resilient Amidst Great Power Rivalries: The Philippine Perspective in Melbourne, Australia, President Marcos emphasized that centuries of friendship and kinship bind the Filipino and Chinese people.

“We pursue with the People’s Republic of China Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation founded on mutual respect and mutual benefit,” President Marcos said, referring to the bilateral ties between the Philippines and China.

But he stressed that he will “push back ties” if the country’s sworn principles are questioned or ignored.

“Our independent foreign policy compels us to cooperate with them on matters where our interests align, to respectfully disagree on areas where our view differ, and to push back when our sworn principles, such as our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and our jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea – are questioned or ignored,” he added.

President Marcos is the first Philippine President to speak at the Lowy Institute.

President Marcos reiterated that the interest of the Philippines in the context of the South China Sea issue will remain.

He emphasized that the Chinese government continues to ignore the universal and unified character of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and in the final and binding determinations of the South China Sea Arbitration Award of 2016.

“It is unfortunate that despite the clarity provided by international law, provocative, unilateral, and illegal actions continue to infringe upon our sovereignty, our sovereign rights, our jurisdictions,” President Marcos said.

The President said that “this pattern of aggression” by China obstructs the path towards ASEAN’s vision of the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability, and of prosperity.

“As a country committed to the cause of peace and the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Philippines continues to tread the path of dialogue and diplomacy despite these serious difficulties,” he added.

The chief executive emphasized that the Philippines’s adherence to the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea remains steadfast, and the country’s commitment to working with ASEAN and China towards an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) “that finds its moorings in UNCLOS and respects the interest of all stakeholders, including Australia.” |PND