By Ellson Quismorio | Manila Bulletin
The United Kingdom (UK) government will continue to work closely with the Philippines under the incoming administration of President-elect Bongbong Marcos in connection with the South China Sea (SCS) issue.
UK Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils made this guarantee Monday, May 30, during a short press briefing at the BBM headquarters in Mandaluyong City.
She did so just minutes after she paid a courtesy call to Marcos at the site.
“The UK is also a maritime nation. We are really focused on international law, in international maritime law in particular and UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Beaufils replied when a reporter asked her how her country would help “temper china’s militarizarion in the South China Sea” under the Marcos presidency.
“We’ve been working very closely with the Philippines in the past and will continue to do so, to support maritime law through training but also through joint exercises,” the envoy said.
“We currently have a few British vessels in the region. We will build on that. Our carrriers strike group will be back in this part of the world in 2023 and we’ll continue to work with all partners interested in maintaining international maritime law and UNCLOS and the 2016 arbtiral ruling as we move forward in the years to come,” she added.
The 2016 ruling, handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), refers to the court’s favorable decision toward the Philippines’ arbitration case wherein The Hague-based body invalidated China’s controversial nine-dash line claim.
Regional power has butted heads with the Philippines and other countries on the matter of territorial claims.
“I’m delighted that I’ve just come out of a meeting with the President-elect, which was a really useful very imformative and very warm,” Beaufils said of her meeting with Marcos.
“I was able to set out that the UK already has really strong bilateral relationship with the Philippines and the strong friendship between our two countries and between our peoples and that we intend to take that from strength to strength over the course of the President-elect’s administration,” she said.