MANILA — The United Kingdom is committed to have an “increased collaboration” with the Philippines in maritime security efforts, British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils said on Saturday.
The two countries have engaged in maritime security dialogues “for us to take stock of the relationship and all we are doing from the areas of maritime from a legal perspective and a training perspective from a problematic perspective, even from an environmental perspective, investing in good ocean management,” Beaufils told reporters on the sidelines of the Great British Festival in Taguig.
“Maritime interest is a common interest between the UK and the Philippines. We’re both maritime nations. We take this issue very very seriously,” she said.
“Both for the UK and the Philippines, the respect for the international law of the sea and the UNCLOS is really, really essential and so this dialogue was an opportunity,” she said.
“This is a scenario of increased collaboration. We will continue to do a lot more in the space of maritime security with the Philippines,” she added.
Earlier this week, the Philippines and the UK called for stability and security in the Indo-Pacific Region as China continues to militarize and operate in seas that fall within Manila’s exclusive economic zone.
Meantime, Beaufils said that the UK has yet to join a slew of other countries that have come to aid the Philippine government efforts in the clean up of the oil spill off the coast of Oriental Mindoro.
The UK has a “huge environmental program and a huge climate change program,” the Ambassador said.
“It’s not focused on the oil spill but we are doing a lot more on the adaptation, coastal management of resources and support for livelihood of coastal communities,” she said.
“So we have a slightly different angle but undoubtedly covering the same areas of good ocean governance and environmental management of the sea and the coasts,” she said.
Manila has yet to seek London’s aid to fast-track the oil spill clean up but the British government would be “happy to engage with the government on their priorities” should they want to, she said.