President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Summit to discuss the Philippines’ role in the disputed portions of the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
This announcement comes after United States Vice President Kamala Harris expressed interest in the situation in the disputed waters during her meeting with President Marcos on Nov. 16 (Manila time).
In an interview, President Marcos stated that he plans to discuss the ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea with President Xi Jinping and strategize for the Philippines’ role in the region. The President emphasized the importance of de-escalating the situation and maintaining peace in the area.
The recent tensions between the Philippine and Chinese coast guards in the West Philippine Sea have raised concerns, particularly after Chinese ships rammed and fired water cannons on Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal, which is located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has affirmed that regular resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal are legitimate activities and do not require prior notification to China.
During the meeting with Vice President Harris, President Marcos discussed the events that have unfolded in the West Philippine Sea in recent months and emphasized the Philippines’ efforts to maintain peace in the region with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard and military.
The meeting between President Marcos and Vice President Harris also underscored the countries’ commitment to upholding international rules and norms, including in the South China Sea.
President Marcos’ upcoming meeting with President Xi Jinping will be crucial in determining the Philippines’ role and approach to the ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea.