MANILA — Tensions in the South China Sea require the Philippines to partner with allies and neighbours to maintain peace there, including establishing codes of conduct as the situation becomes “more dire”, the Philippines’ president said.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, speaking at a forum in Hawaii streamed live on Monday in the Philippines, said the priority was maintaining order and having agreed rules to follow.
He said the Philippines had approached other Southeast Asian nations with whom the Philippines has territorial disputes, like Vietnam and Malaysia, “to make our own conduct of conduct”.
The Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has in the past few years been working with China towards creating a framework to establish a code of conduct, a plan committed to as far back as 2002.
Progress has been slow, however, with negotiations on its contents still yet to get underway and concerns about the extent to which China, which claims ownership of most of the South China Sea, is committed to a binding set of rules.
“It is important we continue to strengthen partnership. The main partner of the Philippines is the United States,” Marcos said, adding that Manila would also partner with countries respecting the rule of law.