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Marcos declares Philippines will not give up any maritime territory, no matter the size – Radio Free Asia

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. emphasized his commitment to defending the Philippines’ sovereignty against any foreign interference, particularly in the context of increasing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, during his address to the Australian Parliament.

During his two-day state visit to Canberra, Marcos expressed the importance of protecting the South China Sea from actions that go against international law. He highlighted the significance of the waterway as a vital global passage crucial for regional and global peace.

In addressing the competing claims in the South China Sea, Marcos took a more assertive stance compared to his predecessor. China’s claim of sovereignty over a large portion of the South China Sea has led to disputes with several countries in the region, including the Philippines.

Without explicitly naming China, Marcos reiterated his firm stance on defending the country’s sovereign territory against any external threats. He emphasized the Philippines’ unwavering resolve in face of challenges.

Marcos underscored the need for collaboration between the Philippines and Australia to strengthen their capabilities and safeguard the peace they fought for during World War II. He highlighted the importance of upholding the rules-based international order that both countries have contributed to building.

Prior to his visit to Australia, Marcos shared reports of Chinese naval ships near Scarborough Shoal, a territory claimed by both the Philippines and China. The shoal has been under Chinese control since 2012, following a standoff with the Philippines.

Marcos has been actively reinforcing security ties with traditional allies like the United States and Australia since assuming office in June 2022. He recently signed agreements with Australia on various maritime security and international law enforcement initiatives.

During the upcoming ASEAN summit in Melbourne, Marcos is set to engage with regional leaders to address pressing issues in the Southeast Asian region.

Jason Gutierrez and Jeoffrey Maitem reported from Manila, the Philippines.

BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated online news organization.

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