President Rodrigo Duterte called on Saturday the leaders of over 30 states to promote the peaceful and sustainable use of oceans and seas in line with international laws.
“As channels of transportation and communication, and a vital source of sustenance and livelihood, our oceans and seas connect and sustain us. It is thus our collective duty to promote their sustainable and peaceful use in accordance with international law,” Duterte said at the Leaders’ Roundtable of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The roundtable discussion was chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Duterte did not mention the West Philippine Sea — the subject of a long-standing maritime dispute between Manila and Beijing — during the discussion. However, he said the Philippines will help in the protection of marine resources.
“As an archipelagic state, the Philippines seeks to improve our collective capacity to manage and protect marine resources,” Duterte explained.
The President’s statements come amid rising tensions with China — over the presence of Chinese vessels believed to be part of a militia near Pag-asa Island in the contested Spratly Island Group, and Chinese fishermen harvesting giant clams in Scarborough Shoal.
In the same speaking engagement, Duterte said the Philippines aims to enhance cooperation with other countries in “green technology,” to transition to low-carbon output development.
“We will also ensure our infrastructure systems should be clean and green. We will strengthen our policy framework for green financing in order to attract investments in renewable energy,” he said.