Marcos, Macron tackle WPS issue over phone call

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and French President Emmanuel Macron had a phone call on Wednesday where they discussed recent woes in the West Philippine Sea, among others, Malacañang said.

According to a statement from the Palace on Thursday, Marcos kept his stance on the maritime row, saying the national government will continue "to maintain the peace, to maintain the stability, keep the shipping lanes open and airways open" in the contested waterways.

The president thanked France for supporting the country's fight for its territory, as well as for sending vessels for patrols.

"But may I thank France for all the support that you have given us in terms of our shared values, in terms of following the international law, especially UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) and it has been of great help the messages of support and even when you sent French vessels to come and patrol. So I have to thank you, Mr. President, and France," Marcos said.

The recent issues in the disputed waters—such as the water cannon incident, destroyed reefs, and illegal installation of a floating barrier—all involved China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea.

Aside from this, Macron also shared his plan to deploy a group of French ministers to the Philippines by the latter part of 2023.

The Philippine president expects to resume bilateral talks with France upon their arrival.

"We can work on what was just held last June, the 10th Philippine-France Joint Economic Committee Meeting. And many of the businessmen from France were able to speak to our ministers and some of the local businessmen as well," Marcos told his French counterpart.

"And so if your ministers will come to visit the Philippines then that will be the next step from that beginning," he added.

Marcos also invited Macron to visit the country.