MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos emphasized his nation’s unwavering stance, declaring that they would not relinquish “a single square inch of our territory” amidst the escalating tensions in the South China Sea due to Beijing’s increasing assertiveness. The President conveyed these sentiments during a forum in Hawaii on Sunday, November 19. His remarks followed a recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in San Francisco, during which they discussed the maritime territorial disputes between their countries.
President Marcos highlighted the growing urgency of the situation in the South China Sea, describing it as “more dire than it was before.” He issued a warning about China’s military displaying interest in establishing bases on reefs that are progressively approaching the Philippine coastline. The president’s statements underscore the Philippines’ firm commitment to protecting its territorial integrity amid rising concerns over China’s actions in the contested region.
President Marcos reiterated his firm stance, stating, “As I have said before and I will say again, the Philippines will not give up a single square inch of our territory to any foreign power.” Emphasizing the commitment to preserving the sovereignty and integrity of the country, Marcos also expressed the intention to collaborate closely with international partners.
Philippine President Stands Firm Amid South China Sea Tensions
The President’s reaffirmation of the Philippines’ territorial rights comes in the midst of heightened tensions with Beijing over the contested South China Sea. Recent weeks have seen increased friction, marked by incidents involving Philippine and Chinese vessels, including two collisions. In the face of these challenges, Marcos remains steadfast in asserting the Philippines’ territorial claims while advocating for diplomatic cooperation on the international stage.
China has deployed boats to patrol the strategically vital South China Sea and has undertaken the militarization of artificial islands, reinforcing its expansive claims over nearly the entire sea. This assertive action by China includes the construction of military installations on these artificial islands.
Notably, China has disregarded an international tribunal ruling that declared its territorial claims in the South China Sea to have no legal basis. Despite international legal judgments, China persists in its efforts to solidify control over the region, escalating tensions and drawing concerns from neighboring countries and the broader international community.
Marcos Hails US and Allies for "Concrete Support" in Countering China's Military Expansion
In their recent meeting, President Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement that their disputes in the South China Sea should not be the “defining element” of their relationship, as stated by Marcos earlier.
During a forum in Hawaii, President Marcos expressed appreciation for the “concrete support” extended to the Philippines by its longstanding ally, the United States. Additionally, he acknowledged the support from other key partners such as Australia, South Korea, and Japan. These nations have been strengthening their defense cooperation with the Southeast Asian nation in response to China’s expanding military capabilities. The collaborative efforts with these allies signify a concerted regional response to address challenges posed by China’s growing military presence. – SkyNewsPH