MANILA—President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Friday afternoon urged the ASEAN leaders gathered in Cambodia to finalize the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea that will guide the nations in avoiding tensions over the contested waters.
“It shall be an example of how states manage their differences: through reason and through right. I, therefore, welcome the progress on textual negotiations on the COC this past year and hopefully an approved code of conduct in the very near future,” Marcos said in his speech before the ASEAN-China Summit, stressing that the COC should be based on international law.
He noted the importance of upholding the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), an agreement that establishes a legal framework for all maritime and marine activities
Aside from the South China Sea issue, Marcos also tackled various regional and geopolitical issues in his messages during the summit.
In the 40th ASEAN summit plenary session, Marcos stressed the importance of “ASEAN centrality and solidarity” when addressing natural disasters, health emergencies, armed conflicts and economic recession.
“We need to solidify our food resilience and promote food self-sufficiency, through the use of new agricultural technologies, in order to protect the region and our countries from shocks to the global food value chain, as well as against adverse effects of climate change,” he said.
He also called for cooperation in the area of food security and the promotion of food self-sufficiency by the use of new agricultural technologies that can protect the region from the effects of climate change.
In the 41st ASEAN Summit Retreat, Marcos stressed the need to implement the “Five-Point Consensus” or the peace plan which seeks to call for the urgent end to the violence in Myanmar.
"While the Philippines adheres to the ASEAN principles of non-interference and consensus, the protracted suffering of the people in Myanmar, in part due to the lack of progress in the implementation of the five-point consensus, also challenges the ASEAN-honored principles of democracy and the respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the ASEAN charter,” he said.
Marcos said that ASEAN’s direct engagement with the military administration, the political opposition and other stakeholders is vital in addressing the political crisis that has been ongoing since a military coup in 2021.
On Friday, the ASEAN leaders reached a consensus regarding this issue.
“So in-endorse na ng leaders iyon at naglabas sila ng papel on Myanmar … And it specifically pointed out that it is incumbent upon the Myanmar armed forces to comply with the commitments to the ASEAN leaders,” Foreign Affairs Asec. Daniel Espiritu said.
Also during the 41st ASEAN Summit Retreat, Marcos stressed the importance that nations recognize the collective responsibility of contributing to the efforts to mitigate the risks and effects of this global phenomenon.
"Addressing climate change is our collective responsibility and developed countries should play a bigger role in global efforts to mitigate its risks, its effects, its damage and loss. Developing countries are more vulnerable, lose more when these climate shocks hit and have fewer resources to cope with the adverse effects of these shocks,” he said.
He also condemned missile launches by North Korea and encouraged the latter to comply with United Nations (UN) security council resolutions.
“Our greatest fear is that if nuclear weapons become conventional weapons by the use of another country, for example by Russia in Ukraine and it becomes a conventional weapon. it will encourage others to unleash their nuclear weapons. this will be the end of us all,” Marcos noted.
He also tackled the Russian-Ukraine war and urged all parties to end hostilities and resort to diplomacy in addressing the political crisis.
In the ASEAN-Republic of Korea meeting, President Marcos extended his condolences to South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and the people of South Korea over the tragedy in Itaewon that left over a thousand dead because of a stampede in November.
During his intervention, the President thanked the Republic of Korea for being home to nearly 50,000 Filipinos after the tragedy.
"I cannot end my talk without thanking the Republic of Korea," the President said, noting that the Filipinos have been well-treated.
He also expressed interest in exploring opportunities for technological cooperation on renewable energy sources with South Korea.