Sebastian Strangio for The Diplomat

The promise came following campaign trail comments advocating a bilateral deal with Beijing over outstanding maritime and territorial disputes.

Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has promised to uphold a key international court ruling against China’s claims in the South China Sea, insisting he would not allow “a single millimeter of our maritime coastal rights to be trampled upon.”

The July 2016 ruling from an arbitral tribunal based at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague rejected most of the Chinese government’s claims to the crucial waterway, including its expansive “nine-dash line” maritime claim.

“We have a very important ruling in our favor and we will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. It is not a claim. It is already our territorial right,” Marcos told reporters yesterday, according to AFP.

“We’re talking about China. We talk to China consistently with a firm voice,” the president-elect said, but added, “We cannot go to war with them. That’s the last thing we need right now.”

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Sebastian Strangio

Sebastian Strangio is Southeast Asia Editor at The Diplomat.