President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday (Monday in Manila) spoke out against "persistent, unlawful threats" in the West Philippine Sea, including dangerous maneuvers by the Chinese Coast Guard in the country's exclusive economic zone.
Speaking at the roundtable briefing at the Daniel K Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) in Hawaii on the last day of his US visit, Marcos talked about the challenge of securing the peace in the West Philippine Sea.
"Tensions in the West Philippine Sea are growing, with persistent unlawful threats and challenges against Philippine sovereign rights and jurisdiction over our exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf, actions that violate obligations under international law," he said.
He said regular routine and resupply missions at Ayungin Shoal are subjected to "coercive tactics and dangerous maneuvers" of the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea, "putting the lives of our people at risk and challenging the rule of law."
He also noted "rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and militarization of reclaimed features in the South China Sea."
Marcos said the Philippines will continue to insist on the preservation of the sovereignty and integrity of the country. "I've said it before and I will say it again, the Philippines will not give a single square inch of our territory," he said.
The President's speech came following his visit Sunday morning at the headquarters of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM).
The Command oversees all US military activities in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes 36 nations, 14 time zones and more than 50% of the global population.
He said that during his visit, he and USINDOPACOM Chief Commander Admiral John Aquilino "had a very productive and useful exchange on regional developments in the critical role of the Philippine-US alliance to promote peace."