News Release

PH, NZ affirm need for int’l rules-based order in South China Sea

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon acknowledged on Thursday the international rules-based order as they both shared serious concern over recent developments in the South China Sea.

In a joint statement, President Marcos and Prime Minister Luxon reaffirmed the right of freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the seas in accordance to international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“On the South China Sea, President Marcos and Prime Minister Luxon expressed shared serious concern over recent development,” the two leaders said in a six-page joint statement, shortly after their joint press conference.

“They affirmed the need for all states to pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including dispute settlement mechanisms under UNCLOS. The leaders reiterated that UNCLOS sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out,” they added.

President Marcos and Prime Minister Luxon recognized the 2016 arbitral award, which invalidated China’s claim in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The two leaders also reaffirmed that all parties must fully implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

They reiterated support for ASEAN-led efforts for the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct for the South China Sea “that upholds the legitimate rights and interests of all parties and is consistent with UNCLOS.”

Prime Minister Luxon is currently in Manila for his two-day official visit to the Philippines from April 18 to 19. He acknowledged the role of the Philippines within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Prime Minister was warmly welcomed by President Marcos at the Malacañan Palace on Thursday afternoon where they both acknowledged the enduring relationship and cooperation between the Philippines and New Zealand. Currently, there are some 100,000 Filipino migrants in New Zealand. PND