President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s position to adhere to rules-based international order in the South China Sea and to maintain peace and stability in the region has earned support from the member states of Group of Seven (G7) and Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), Malacañang said.
The expression of support was relayed to Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko through a letter sent to her on May 20.
Garafil said the letter contains Koshikawa’s report on the outcome documents of the recently-concluded 2023 G7 and QUAD summits hosted by Japan.
In the letter, Koshikawa reported the fruitful culmination of the twin summits with “consequential decisions encompassing matters related to the Philippines.”
Koshikawa said that the G7 leaders reaffirmed their determination to meet global challenges and further champion shared international principles and values.
To maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, the G7 leaders had emphasized their commitment to strengthen coordination with regional partners, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), he added.
This developed as China on Friday defended its decision to deploy its own buoys in Philippine waters, saying they are doing it “in accordance with law.”
In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said it sees nothing wrong when Beijing deployed its largest beacon vessels to the West Philippine Sea, several days after the Philippines made the first move.
National Security Adviser Eduardo Año countered that the placement of navigational buoys in the disputed waters off the West Philippine Sea was “an act of a sovereign nation and is pursuant to the country’s obligations under international law.”
China, the Philippines, and other Asean member-states such as Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia hold different — and in some cases overlapping — claims over the South China Sea.
In a 2016 arbitral ruling, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Beijing’s nine-dash line, a demarcation that covers almost 80 percent of the South China Sea, is illegal.
Beijing has since ignored the ruling as it continued to beef up its presence in the contested territories.
During the summit, Koshikawa said the G7 leaders’ believe that there is “no legal basis for China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea and strongly oppose its militarization in the region.”
Koshikawa said the G7 leaders had likewise stressed the universal character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and its pivotal role in setting out the legal framework in all activities in the oceans and seas.
“Significantly, the leaders reiterated the legally binding Arbitral Tribunal award rendered on 12 July 2016 as a significant milestone as a basis for peaceful resolvement of disputes between the parties,” Koshikawa said.
“Furthermore, they affirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and agreed to foster resilience to economic coercion,” he added.