Philippines woos neighbours to craft code on South China Sea
- Philippines approaches Malaysia, Vietnam on code
- South China Sea situation has become 'more dire' -Marcos
- Tension requires Philippines to partner with allies -Marcos
MANILA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The Philippines has approached neighbours such as Malaysia and Vietnam to discuss a separate code of conduct regarding the South China Sea, its president said on Monday, citing limited progress towards striking a broader regional pact with China.
Relations between the two have grown more tense under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who has increasingly complained about China's "aggressive" behaviour while rekindling strong ties with the Philippines' sole treaty ally, the United States.
"We are still waiting for the code of conduct between China and ASEAN and the progress has been rather slow unfortunately," Marcos said, referring to efforts by the grouping of Southeast Asian nations.
"We have taken the initiative to approach those other countries around ASEAN with whom we have existing territorial conflicts, Vietnam being one of them, Malaysia being another and to make our own code of conduct.
"Hopefully this will grow further and extend to other ASEAN countries."
The embassies of China, Malaysia and Vietnam in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on a possible code.
Looks like the Philippines have no intention to sign the SCS code of conduct, China needs to take out the big stick now.