November 28, 2022

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Chinese President Xi Jinping have reaffirmed their support for the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea “to help manage differences and regional tensions,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.

The two leaders reaffirmed this commitment during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand Thursday.

In a statement, the DFA said the two leaders “agreed that maritime issues do not define the totality of Philippines-China relations.”

The DFA said both Marcos and Xi also “reaffirmed their support for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea to help manage differences and regional tensions.”

“Our foreign policy refuses to fall into the trap of a Cold War mindset. Ours is an independent foreign policy guided by our national interest and commitment to peace,” Marcos told Xi during the meeting.

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The Philippines and China have been in a long-standing maritime dispute as Beijing claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea, a portion of which has been renamed the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines scored a victory against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands in 2016. The arbitration court declared Beijing’s claim over nearly the entire South China Sea as illegal.

China has refused to acknowledge the ruling and continues to claim nearly the entire South China Sea.