Philippine President will talk with Chinese leader regarding the East Sea
|Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will raise the topic of East Sea during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of APEC 2023 in San Francisco. (Source: Rappler)
On November 17th, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. affirmed that he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in San Francisco (USA) to discuss tensions in the South China Sea. In a video message, he said: “We will listen to the Chinese President's views on what we can do to ease tensions and not escalate the situation in the East Sea”.
Previously, on November 15th, US and the Philippines’ Defense Ministers criticized China's recent actions in the East Sea. In a joint statement after meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in Jakarta, Indonesia, the two Ministers “committed to exploring further opportunities to enhance operations and planning bilateral,” including military exercises next year and an information-sharing agreement. Both sides also seeks to “expand multilateral activities with like-minded partners”.
At ADMM+, members also called for de-escalating tensions in the East Sea, resolving disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
International relations expert Abdul Rahman Yaacob, of the Lowy Institute (Australia), said that the participation of US Secretary of Defense Austin in this ADMM+ meeting reaffirmed the US commitment to Indo-Pacific, despite concerns that the US is distracted by conflicts in Ukraine or the Middle East.
On November 16th, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs also called on China to dismantle illegal entities, stop reclamation activities, and take responsibility for environmental damage in the East Sea.