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Marcos calls on “all” to uphold UNCLOS in order to avoid confrontation in the SCS

To avoid the South China Sea (SCS) becoming the focal point of armed confrontation, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. urged all parties to adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on Thursday.

During his intervention during the 42nd ASEAN Summit Retreat Session in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, the leader of the Philippines made this call, referring to the UNCLOS as the seas’ constitution.

We shall keep pleading with everyone to uphold the 1982 UNCLOS, which is known as “the constitution of the oceans.” We must make sure that armed conflict does not center around the South China Sea, added Marcos.

Marcos stated that the Philippines is committed to implementing the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the prompt conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, in addition to advocating for a rules-based maritime order based on the 1982 UNCLOS.

“We need to stop the rise of power and the aggressive remaking of the international order. We require limitations on power restrained by the force of the rule of law in an increasingly unstable world, he continued.

According to Marcos, the centrality of ASEAN towards inclusive engagement in the Indo-Pacific, as demonstrated by the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which highlighted the four priority areas of cooperation of the ASEAN Outlook that will serve as a guidepost, should serve as the foundation for the rules-based regional architecture.

Concerned about recent events in the South China Sea, in particular the violations of its sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction that have been impacting fishermen and coastal communities, he stated that the country would continue to preserve its sovereignty.

The Philippines “will remain firm in upholding and protecting our entitlements under UNCLOS despite the continued incidents of Filipino vessels in our waters and attempts to deny and obstruct our ability to exercise our sovereign rights in our Exclusive Economic Zone,” Marcos stated.

The South China Sea is a key waterway that is thought to be rich in resources, particularly natural gas. Aside from the Philippines, neighboring ASEAN countries Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also have overlapping claims with China in this area.

Myanmar’s violence has subsided

While expressing the Philippines’ complete support for Indonesia’s initiatives on the execution of the Five-Point Consensus, Marcos urged the greatest caution and an early end to the violence in Myanmar.

“We continue to call on Myanmar to abide by and implement the Five-Point Consensus, and for our external partners to complement ASEAN’s efforts in the context of the Five-Point Consensus,” the official said.

In addition, he expressed worry over the rising tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) must follow current UN Security Council resolutions and engage in talks with interested parties in order to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, Marcos said. “The Philippines consistently emphasizes this need,” he added.

Marcos urged the parties involved to look for a peaceful settlement to the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict in light of the possibility of a nuclear escalation.

The President will return to Manila on Thursday after the two-day 42nd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

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