MANILA, Philippines — UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly met Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his Manila counterpart on Tuesday to discuss maritime security, trade and the environment, the two governments said.
Cleverly also visited the Philippine Coast Guard, which, along with the military, has accused China of breaking international law in an escalating series of spats in the disputed South China Sea.
He said in a statement he went “to hear about the work they do to uphold the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and protect the environment”.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, and has ignored an international ruling that its claims have no legal basis.
Chinese coast guard vessels chased and briefly blocked Philippine boats on a resupply mission to a remote garrison on Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands last week, the second incident of its kind this month.
Cleverly said Britain wanted to build “enduring partnerships with the Philippines and like-minded countries across this region”.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said Cleverly’s visit “signals a strengthening of our bilateral ties in trade, investment, security, maritime cooperation and other fields”.
Total two-way annual trade between Britain and the Philippines stood at an all-time high of 2.4 billion pounds ($3.03 billion), Cleverly said.
Source : Philstar Global