Will Marcos raise South China Sea dispute in meeting with world leaders?

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is expected to bring up several concerns of the Philippines during his participation in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) next week, but it is still not clear if he will assert the country’s position on the West Philippine Sea​.​

What the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) could only be sure of is that the President will raise matters on climate change, the rule of law and food security in his meeting with other world leaders starting Sept. 20.

​"​In the draft statement of the DFA for the President, there is a very strong section on the rule of law and the role of the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),​"​ Kira Azucena, DFA assistant secretary for the United Nations and Other International Organizations office, said Thursday.

But regarding specific matters​ that will be raised by the President, in his statements and speeches, these would come from the Office of the President, she added.

Azucena made the remark after she was asked in a joint briefing with the Office of the Press Secretary ahead of Marcos’ trip to New York if he will assert the country’s right over the West Philippine Sea, as what his predecessor, President Duterte, did in the same gathering.

Duterte, in a recorded message delivered in UNGA in 2020, affirmed the country’s position on the South China Sea by citing the arbitral ruling, which turned in favor of the Philippines.

He even said the Philippines firmly rejects any attempts to undermine it.

In recent statements, the Philippine government, either through Marcos or DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo, was taking a strong position on its claim over parts of the South China Sea that were unilaterally claimed by China.

The government has consistently asserted its rights by citing the Award made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016.