MANILA, May 28 (dpa): Philippine President-Elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr has vowed he would not compromise the country’s sovereignty in dealing with foreign countries, including in settling disputes with China over the South China Sea.
"In terms of sovereignty, there is no wiggle room there," he told reporters one day after Congress officially proclaimed him the winner in the May 9 presidential election.
"Our sovereignty is sacred and we will not compromise it in any way," he added. "We are a sovereign nation with a functioning government, so we do not need to be told by anyone how to run our country."
But the 64-year-old former senator said he would pursue "bilateral contact and communication" with China in terms of the South China Sea dispute, noting: "We cannot go into war. That’s the last thing we need right now."
"This cannot be allowed to fester and to become more severe in terms of a problem between our two countries," Marcos Jr said he told Chinese President Xi Jinping in a recent call.
The Philippines and China are embroiled in a territorial dispute due to overlapping claims in the South China Sea, where Beijing has taken over areas and built artificial islands with military-capable facilities.
Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims to the area, which is believed to be rich in natural resources.
In July 2016, the International Court of Arbitration ruled that China has no legal or historical basis for its expansive claims in the South China Sea in a case filed by the Philippines. Beijing has rejected the ruling. - dpa