Martin President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. and Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez are shown with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada in one of the activities lined up on the second day of the 43rd ASEAN Summit hosted by Indonesia Wednesday morning.

Speaker Romualdez backs PBBM call for united ASEAN

September 6, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 211 views

To preserve peace in SCS

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday backed the call of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. call in the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Indonesia for the regional bloc to unite in fostering rules-based order to preserve peace and defuse tension in the South China Sea.

In his intervention at the retreat session of the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, President Marcos said it is imperative for ASEAN to leverage its regional architecture “to serve as a diplomatic bridge that promotes mutual understanding, strategic trust, and peaceful settlement of disputes.”

“The President’s stance on a rules-based approach in settling the South China Sea territorial disputes underlines our commitment to international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Romualdez said.

“By reiterating this stand in the ASEAN forum, we are emphasizing the importance of peaceful dialogue and negotiations, ensuring that our sovereign rights are recognized and respected,” he added.

The 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits hosted by Indonesia is being held on the heels of the release of a new map published by the Chinese government depicting its expansive claim over the South China Sea.

The Philippines, along with fellow ASEAN members Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as India, has voiced strong objections over China’s new standard map.

“A united ASEAN working together for the observance of rules-based order in the South China Sea can exert considerable influence towards peaceful and diplomatic settlement of disputes which would be mutually beneficial for all concerned,” Romualdez said.

He said this could also push the momentum to achieve progress in the negotiations for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

In his intervention at the ASEAN summit, President Marcos also cautioned against viewing the growing tension in the South China Sea from the perspective of a strategic competition against two opposing powerful nations.

“This not only denies us of our independence and agency but also disregards our own legitimate interests,” President Marcos said.

He said that the Philippines will continue to uphold and exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

The Chief Executive also called for self-restraint on activities that complicate disputes in the South China Sea and undermine regional peace, stability, and security.

“We cannot emphasize enough that actions, not words, should be the ultimate measure of our commitment to securing peace and stability in the South China Sea. Anything else will not suffice,” he said.