MANILA — Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on Tuesday said that the government should consider back-channel diplomacy to resolve the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Marcos said that back-channeling will be helpful to persuade China to stop its aggressive behavior in the disputed territories.
“Diplomacy is not exclusively a government to government endeavor. There are a lot of Filipino businessmen with businesses in China and they have friends and connections there. Let’s utilize that, ask them to talk to their friends on how we can resolve this matter peacefully,” Marcos said in a statement.
Back-channeling, according to Marcos, might be one of the ways to encourage China to engage in peaceful resolution of the dispute.
“Even if we don’t manage to arrive at an agreement immediately, if we are talking there’s a chance might be able to reason with China to stop doing what it’s doing and continue talking. If we manage to do that, there is hope for a peaceful resolution,” he said.
Now that Washington has stood firm on its decision to assert freedom of navigation rights in the region, Marcos said it is important for the government to heighten diplomatic initiatives with China.
“The end game of all our diplomatic efforts is to secure an agreement with China over the disputed territories in West Philippine Sea, that is what we should do,” he said.
“It’s important for the Philippines and China to talk, that’s the first step,” he added.