May 2, 2023
MANILA — Amid China’s increasing acts of aggression, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and US President Joe Biden on Monday (early morning Tuesday Manila time) cited the importance of respecting sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones in their bilateral meeting.
In a joint statement of the leaders, Marcos and Biden also supported the rights of Filipino fishermen’s rights to pursue their livelihoods within the Philippines’ EEZ.
“The leaders underscore their unwavering commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and the importance of respecting the sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones consistent with international law,” the joint statement read, which was released by the Presidential Communications Office.
“The leaders support the right and ability of Filipino fisherfolk to pursue their traditional livelihoods,” it added.
According to the statement, Marcos and Biden also affirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an “indispensable element of global security and prosperity.”
Manila and Washington reaffirmed their decades-old security alliance, with Biden telling Marcos that the US’ commitment to defense of the Philippines was “ironclad,” including in the South China Sea.
The Philippines has been receiving aggressive acts from China on the contested West Philippine Sea.