France backs freedom of navigation in South China Sea


France will continue to sail in the South China Sea, the French ambassador has said amid China’s objections to the presence of western countries in the region.

According to JP Soriano’s report on “State of the Nation with Jessica Soho”, French Ambassador Nicolas Galey said his country adhered to the United Nations Conventions on the Laws of the Sea.

“We stick to international law in general so this includes of course international law of the sea,” Galey said.

Galey indicated France’s support for freedom of navigation in the disputed waters.

“Our Navy will sail ast has in the past and it will happen in the future in this part of the world,” Galey said.

“It is not something that is against anyone. It’s just the implementation of the international law of the sea,” he added.

China is laying claim to almost the entire South China Sea despite a 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that invalidated its historical claims.

The decision also recognized the Philippines exclusive economic zone as provided for by the UNCLOS that was signed by UN member-states including both the Philippines and China.

Under international law, countries have freedom of navigation and overflight in so-called high seas.

“Hindi naman tayo takot sa kanila e. ‘Yun lang nga, they’re there already,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

“We have been asserting our rights there sa West Philippine Sea and they’re listening,” he added.

The West Philippine Sea is that part of the South China Sea that is within the country’s exclusive economic zone.