News Release

PH talking to China on various diplomatic levels to ease tension in WPS, says PBBM

The Philippine government will do all it can through diplomacy to convey to the Chinese leadership the need to lower the tension in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and avoid possible direct confrontation, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday.

President Marcos made the remarks when asked in a media interview in Bacolod City if he hoped the enhanced maritime cooperation between the Philippines, Australia and Japan could ease the tension in the WPS.

“I sincerely hope so. I really do. I really do, but again. So, we are trying everything. We still continue to talk at a ministerial level, at a sub-ministerial level, at a people-to-people level,” Marcos told reporters.

“Lahat ng maaari nating gawin, ginagawa natin para makausap ang Chinese leadership, ang Beijing, makausap sila na ‘wag na natin masyadong papainitin pa at mag-uusap tayo nang mabuti para walang banggaan, walang canon, walang water cannon, hindi na mabalik sa ganun,” he said.

Asked to comment on the concluded Multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity in the West Philippine Sea between the Philippines, US, Australia and Japan, the President said he has received reports that the exercises have gone well.

According to President Marcos, the drills are very useful in terms of the interoperability especially in ensuring that each navy knows how the other navy operates, as well as in gaining lessons on how to operate together.

“So, maganda naman daw ang takbo,” Marcos said.

The Philippine military said in a statement that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the US Indo-Pacific Command, Australian Defence Force and Japan Self-Defense Forces successfully conducted the first Multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday. PND