Intervention by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit Leader’s Retreat

Event Intervention ASEAN-Australia Special Summit Leader's Retreat
Location Ballroom, Government House in Melbourne, Australia

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese; Excellencies, good afternoon.

At the outset, allow me to express the Philippines’ support for Laos’ Chairship of ASEAN this year and thank our Chair for ably shepherding this Special Summit as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-Australia relations.

Geography is no accident, and for all of us gathered today, it is an inescapable fact that we cannot change our geography.

Unfortunately, the ominous geopolitical developments in Ukraine, the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea, among others, pose serious challenges to the capacity of our global and regional security architecture to manage and resolve tensions, and to protect the principles of sovereignty, sovereign rights, and territorial integrity.

A rules-based international order emanates from the lessons of history.

Conflicts and war necessitated an international order based on institutions and rules which are of universal import.

We need not repeat history in order to recognize its lessons.

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.

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.

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.


We all have our respective positions on recent developments around the world.

The disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the developments in the Middle East have taught us invaluable lessons on the paramount importance of the need to deftly and delicately manage the growing challenges of geopolitics, recognizing that their adverse effects on our interconnected economies will certainly affect the wellbeing of all our citizens.

We thus thank like-minded states such as Australia for promoting a rules-based international order grounded on international law.

We acknowledge ASEAN’s oldest Dialogue Partner’s support not only through statements, but also through concrete initiatives 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.

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.

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.

We thank Australia for convening this Special Commemorative Summit and this first Leaders’ Retreat for ASEAN for this year.

May this meeting set the pace for constructive dialogue for the rest of this Chairship year as we address our region’s shared challenges together.

Thank you.