'China backed PH's continental shelf limits bid' --- Locsin

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. revealed that China has backed the Philippines in its bid in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

Philippine delegation at the 32nd Meeting of the States Parties to UNCLOS held on June 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Mission to the UN)

Locsin thanked China for voting for the Philippines in the CLCS election held on Wednesday, June 15, where the country won a seat by garnering 113 votes from 164 state parties.

The Philippines' top diplomat said despite the differences, both countries have deep respect and affection for each other. The two nations' ties under President Duterte were dubbed "friendly relations."

"Thank you, China, for your vote," Locsin said on Twitter Thursday, June 16.

"We have differences, sure; we tried but failed to bridge them, but the endeavor was sincere; we are patriots each of our respective causes, but we have a deep respect and genuine affection for each other," he added.

Among the constant "differences" between the two countries is the years-long maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

This year alone, the Philippines has lodged several diplomatic protests against China for alleged harassment incidents at sea, China's unilateral fishing ban, and the swarming of Chinese vessels within the country's maritime zones.

China, on the other hand, responded to each protest with affirmation that Chinese vessels spotted in the Philippine waters are an "exercise of the right of innocent passage."

China also said that the alleged harassment issues are being handled in a "friendly manner."

The Philippines will serve a term in the Commission from 2023 to 2028, represented by National Mapping and Resource Information Authority Deputy Administrator Efren Carandang.

The CLCS is a UN body that facilitates the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It is tasked to examine and recommend the coastal states' submissions for extended continental shelves.

The outer limits established through this process become the fixed boundaries between the seabed areas within national jurisdictions and the international seabed areas reserved for common heritage.

Locsin conveyed his gratitude to China a day after he lamented that Australia did not back the country's bid in the Commission.

"I am extremely disappointed Australia cannot support our candidature to the CLCS. Stuck out my neck for AUKUS. Thought we were partners in upholding rules-based order in the maritime domain. Come through for us," he said.