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After meeting with Marcos, UK envoy reaffirms commitment to int'l law, Hague ruling on West Philippine Sea

Philstar.com
After meeting with Marcos, UK envoy reaffirms commitment to int'l law, Hague ruling on West Philippine Sea
British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils in a brief press conference after a courtesy call on president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on May 30, 2022.
Philstar.com / Kristine Joy Patag

MANILA, Philippines — The United Kingdom said it plans to continue using international law and the 2016 arbitral ruling as a guide in navigating issues on the West Philippine Sea in the coming years.

After paying a courtesy call on president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., UK’s envoy emphasized that Britain is also a maritime nation. She said they will continue to support the Philippines through maritime training and joint exercises.

“We currently have a few British vessels in the region, we will build on that, our carrier strike group will be back in this part of the world in 2023,” British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils told reporters in a media briefing on Monday.

“We'll continue to work with all partners in maintaining the international maritime law and UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and the 2016 arbitral award as we move forward in the years to come,” she said, referring to the ruling that invalidated China’s claim that included parts of the West Philippine Sea. 

China has been ignoring the arbitration award, still asserting their claims over the disputed waters. The landmark ruling had invalidated Beijing's so-called nine-dash line over the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

Beaufils was one of the foreign envoys who paid Marcos Jr. a courtesy call on Monday, along with Singaporean ambassador Gerard Ho as well as representatives from the European Union.

This comes a week after the respective ambassadors of India, Japan, and the United States’ chargé d'affaires also met with the president-elect.

Beaufils said the meeting with Marcos Jr. was “very useful, very informative, and very warm” as they set out to take on issues and topics of joint interest. 

“I was able to set out that the UK already has a really strong bilateral relationship with the Philippines and the strong friendship between our two countries, and between our two peoples, and that we intend to take that from strength to strength over the course of the president-elect's administration,” she said.

Beaufils said they discussed how the two nations can work together to boost the economy, adding that the United Kingdom has programs to support trade and infrastructure in the Philippines.

She added that they spoke about the UK’s programs in energy and climate change adaptation, while human rights and “media freedom” were also tackled during their meeting.

Beaufils mentioned that they also talked about the Mindanao peace process but before Rappler's reporter could ask to elaborate further, the press conference was reportedly cut short. — Kaycee Valmonte with reports from Kristine Joy Patag

DIPLOMACY

FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

SOUTH CHINA SEA

UNITED KINGDOM

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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