PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed through a telephone call on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, the security issues concerning the West Philippines Sea (WPS) amid the continuous claims of China.
Marcos, during his conversation with Macron, assured that the Philippine government is exerting all efforts “to maintain the peace, to maintain the stability, keep the shipping lanes open and airways open” in the WPS.
“But may I thank France for all the support that you have given us in terms of our shared values, in terms of following the international law, especially Unclos (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) and it has been of great help the messages of support and even when you sent French vessels to come and patrol. So I have thank you, Mr. President, and France,” said Marcos.
Just recently, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) removed the floating barriers installed by China in the southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc, which is within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines.
China said they installed the barriers to prevent Filipino fishermen and vessels from trespassing.
Chinese militia vessels and Chinese Coast Guard were also involved in harassing Philippine troops conducting resupply mission in the Ayungin Shoal.
Marcos and Macron also discussed the upcoming visit of French ministers in the country before the end of the year as part of the efforts to strengthen the Philippine-France bilateral ties and forge more cooperation.
“We can work on what was just held last June, the 10th Philippine-France Joint Economic Committee Meeting. And many of the businessmen from France were able to speak to our ministers and some of the local businessmen as well,” Marcos told Macron.
“And so if your ministers will come to visit the Philippines, then that will be the next step from that beginning,” he added.
Marcos also invited Macron to visit the Philippines whenever he made a state visit to Asia.
The Philippines and France had just celebrated the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship. (SunStar Philippines)