The European Union is ready to strengthen cooperation with the Philippines on maritime security. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission said in a press release on Monday, July 31.
“We are ready to strengthen the cooperation with the Philippines on maritime security in the region. We will be doing so by sharing information, conducting threat assessment and building the capacity of your coast guard,” she said after a meeting with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Manila.
The Philippines is the center of the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China. This is due to the country’s maritime territory including parts of the South China Sea. A strategic and resource-rich waterway over which China also claims sovereignty.
Von der Leyen reaffirmed the EU’s support for a 2016 international arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims. But China, whose latest actions in the South China Sea have been the subject of protests filed by the Philippines, does not recognize the landmark ruling.