Jakarta, Indonesia
September 7, 2023

“We must not allow tensions in the South China Sea to further escalate. In the spirit and in accordance with the DOC, we continue to urge all parties to exercise self-restraint and refrain from unilateral and ascertain activities that would increase tensions in the region, misunderstandings and miscalculations in the South China Sea,” President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said at the 18th East Asia Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Attended by counterparts from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States of America (USA), alongside Leaders from the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the President reiterated the Philippines’ stance towards a rules-based order that adheres to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea.

“We must oppose the dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea,” the President announced, citing the growing concerns about the prevalence of “illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and the militarization of reclaimed features in the South China Sea.”

“The Philippines remains resolute towards a peaceful resolution of disputes. We continue to support freedom of navigation and overflight and the rules-based international order in the South China Sea,” he reiterated. He also relayed the progress made in discussing the milestone issues and the preliminary review of the Single Draft Negotiating Text (SNDT) during the last negotiation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

Furthermore, President Marcos Jr. expressed concern over the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the recent surge of intercontinental ballistic missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that pose dangers to global peace and security.

“We call on the DPRK to fully comply with all relevant UN security council resolutions towards the realization of lasting peace and stability in a denuclearize Korean Peninsula,” he stated.

Likewise, he encouraged Leaders to create conditions for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine and called for the complete implementation of the five-point consensus on the Myanmar crisis.

President Marcos Jr. also urged the Leaders to establish a ‘Loss and Damage Fund’ to address the effects of climate change.

He stressed the need for climate financing, complemented by viable and effective technology transfer and country-specific capacity building, to expedite a just transition to a climate resilient economy.

“We seek your support towards the development of our strategic mineral supply and value chains, we should boost our efforts and ensure a resilient and sustainable future for our future,” he said.

In closing his statement, the President asserted that the Philippines will continue to champion an open and inclusive regional order with the rule of law and ASEAN Centrality.