Philippine President Marcos says diplomatic efforts with China heading ‘in poor direction’

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr revealed a “paradigm shift” was required in how his nation approaches the South China Sea problem, as diplomatic attempts with Beijing were headed “in a wrong direction”. Mr Marcos, in an interview with the Japanese media on Dec 16, parts of which were shared with the Philippine media on Dec 18, said traditional diplomatic efforts were being disregarded by China, according to a presidential palace release. “To this point, we have resorted to traditional methods of diplomacy… we have been doing this for several years now, (but) with very little progress,” said Mr Marcos, who was in Japan for Tokyo’s commemorative summit with Asean.

“We have to come up with a paradigm shift,” he said of the nations that feel “they have an involvement in this situation”, while reiterating that the Philippines wishes to prevent violent conflict. He also said that his government will go on to have a conversation to its partners and come up with a collaborative  position stating their responsibilities as far as the West Philippine Sea is concerned. The Philippines talks about the part of the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone as the West Philippine Sea.

Manila and Beijing traded accusations over a collision of their vessels near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Dec 10 as tensions over claims in the vital waterway escalate. China’s Foreign Ministry revealed the past incidents were “wholly caused” by the Philippines, but that maritime disputes do not depict the “entire story” of both countries’ rapports. Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing on Dec 19 that China is wishing to accurately manage discrepancies through dialogue and consultation. “We will not close the door to dialogue and contact with the Philippines,” he revealed when he was questioned regarding the serious matter of Mr Marcos’ remarks.