Bongbong Marcos, US VP Harris discuss South China Sea
JAKARTA, Indonesia — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and United States (US) Vice President Kamala Harris met on the sidelines of the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Jakarta, the Palace said Thursday.
“President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. holds a pull-aside meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris after the Asean-US Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday (September 6),” said the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) in a social media post.
Both leaders agreed to work together and with Asean members “to foster trade and promote regional peace and progress,” it added.
While the Palace did not further specify details of the meeting, its US counterpart said the two leaders tackled maritime security.
According to the White House, Marcos and Harris had a shared commitment to a rules-based international order.
“The two leaders discussed the maritime security environment in the South China Sea, and reviewed opportunities to enhance bilateral maritime cooperation, including alongside like-minded partners,” said White House in a statement posted on its website.
Harris also echoed earlier commitments of the US on maritime security.
“The Vice President reaffirmed United States’ iron-clad alliance commitment to the Philippines and highlighted the role the US-Philippines alliance plays in ensuring a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” White House further said.
The White House statement came amid escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea.
China is the biggest claimant in the territorial row, marking its claim of almost the entire South China Sea with a supposed 10-dash line, which Manila asserts is overlapping the West Philippine Sea and the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
The US, while geographically far from the conflict, has thrown its support behind Philippines in upholding order and freedom of navigation.
On multiple occasions, the global powerhouse had condemned China’s aggression in the disputed waters.
Marcos has repeatedly said the conflict must not be reduced to mere assertions of dominance among powerful countries.