Diplomatic efforts fail: Marcos eyes radical solution in West Philippine Sea row

President Marcos also reiterated that he does not want any more incidents, as mistakes tend to trigger violent conflicts.

Jean Mangaluz

Jean Mangaluz

Philippine Daily Inquirer


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. answers questions from the media during the last day of Asean-Japan Friendship and Cooperation Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, Japan on Monday, December 18, 2023. PHOTO: PPA POOL/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

December 20, 2023

MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is calling for a paradigm shift in the West Philippine Sea dispute, said the Palace on Tuesday.

“It’s time that the countries that feel that they have an involvement in this situation, we have to come up with a paradigm shift,” Marcos told Japanese media.

The President admitted that confrontations in the disputed waters have fallen into a pattern. The Philippines would engage in traditional methods of diplomacy after each incident by sending a note verbale and the Philippine Embassy would send a démarche to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“We have been doing this for many years now, with very little progress,” Marcos said.

“We have to do something what we have not done before. We have to come up with a new concept, a new principle, a new idea so that we move, as I say, we move the needle the other way. It’s going up, let’s move the needle back, so that paradigm shift is something that we have to formulate,” Marcos added.

Marcos reiterated that he does not want any more incidents, as mistakes tend to trigger violent conflicts.

In a separate interview with Philippine media on Monday, Marcos also admitted that increasing the budget for defense would not make the Philippines’ defense comparable to China.

In a media interview with the media, Marcos said that the Philippines is doing its best to improve operational capabilities.

“Even if we go up to the desired level of spending on defense, up to percent of GDP (gross domestic product), we will still be very — not comparative in terms of actual military force to the Chinese,” Marcos said.

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