Jakarta, Sep 6 (EFE).- Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang met Wednesday on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Jakarta, amid territorial tensions between the two countries in the South China Sea.
In an address before the other leaders after the meeting, Marcos Jr. underlined that cooperation in the maritime sector could only prosper in an environment conducive to regional peace, security and stability, anchored in international law.
On his part, the Chinese premier said during the meeting that “mutual trust” between ASEAN – made up of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar and Brunei – and China has “deepened”.
Li further claimed their political mutual trust has deepened, regardless of how the international situation evolves, and that China and ASEAN have maintained close exchanges and communication, respecting the path of mutual development.
China and the Philippines maintain a conflict over the sovereignty of several islands and atolls in the South China Sea. These territories are mostly less than 200 miles from the western Philippine coast, a limit established by the United Nations to determine the maritime sovereignty of the states in a convention that China acceded to in 1996.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague determined that China’s claim to the disputed islands “has no legal basis,” ruling in favor of Manila, a decision that Beijing refuses to abide by.
The territorial dispute between Beijing and Manila in the South China Sea has worsened since the coming to power last year of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who has turned to the US for support amid multiple incursions in Philippine territorial waters by Chinese ships. EFE