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SCS negotiations with China are still ongoing on a bilateral and multilateral basis: Carlos

MANILA, Philippines — Clarita Carlos, the incoming National Security Adviser, stated on Friday that the Marcos administration will continue bilateral and multilateral dialogue with China to resolve the South China Sea (SCS) dispute.

Carlos stated during the Laging Handa program that the country would continue to negotiate with other SCS claims.

“We will continue to hold bilateral and multilateral negotiations with China and other states because the contested South and East China Seas are contested by many countries,” she said.

Carlos made the statement because she recognized that taking a negative stance would only exacerbate the sea claimants’ conflicts.

“Let’s just keep talking because the alternative is something that none of us want,” she remarked.

She did, however, guarantee that diplomatic protests against provocative conduct in the disputed waters will be filed in the future, stressing that the government would not “acquiesce to the situation on the ground.”

China, the Philippines, and a number of other littoral governments are embroiled in a territorial dispute over the SCS, with Beijing claiming roughly 80% of the crucial waterways.

Concerned parties are now pursuing bilateral and international talks to resolve the maritime dispute.

The discussions will entail the creation of a legally binding Code of Conduct in collaboration with other ASEAN countries.

In 2016, China and the Philippines created a bilateral consultation mechanism on SCS to promote the stable development of bilateral relations while discussing disagreements and managing maritime incidents.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands, decided in favor of the Philippines’ petition against China on July 12, 2016, invalidating Beijing’s claim to historic rights over practically the entire SCS.

China has repeatedly disregarded the SCS verdict, while the Philippines has maintained its commitment to peaceful and diplomatic dialogue to address the maritime conflicts.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is stepping down, wanted a diplomatic resolution to the SCS dispute with China.

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Duterte’s successor, has previously pledged to support the PCA verdict against China.

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