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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

PBBM: PH will respond to actual sea situation

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‘They can’t cover our eyes, pretend nothing happened’

President Marcos said the Philippines needs to “respond to the actual situation on the ground” in the West Philippine Sea even as it does not seek conflict with any other country.

“They cannot cover our eyes and pretend that nothing happened,” Mr. Marcos told newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to the PhilippinesEndo Kazuya during the latter’s presentation of credentials in Malacañang.

He said as a matter of foreign policy and geopolitics, the most important thing is to find a way to keep the West Philippine Sea at peace.

“That is what the Philippines will always work for,” the President said.

Mr. Marcos is set to participate in a historic trilateral cooperation meeting with US President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida next week in Washington.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the recent Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea will be discussed during the trilateral summit.

“I think we can expect a discussion on the recent incidents,” DFA Acting Deputy Undersecretary Hans Mohaimin Siriban said.

“Of course, the joint vision statement is still under discussion, but we can expect an alignment of views among the three countries on the recent incidents in the West Philippine Sea… We will continue to call [for] peace and stability and that the recent incidents [be] resolved in a peaceful and diplomatic manner,” he added.

The DFA official said the meeting will underscore the importance of ensuring freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea.

“Our hope is also that with the trilateral cooperation, it will also help capacitate the Philippines in terms of more training on maritime security, training on capacity-building not just training of personnel but also, possibly, more cooperation on equipment,” he said.

Earlier, the United States Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbellsaid the trilateral summit next week would bring closer coordination on South China Sea issues.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “Marcos: PH won’t pretend like nothing happened amid tensions in West Philippine Sea.”

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