MANILA – Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos on Friday welcomed US President Barack Obama’s demand for China to stop building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Marcos said the US leader’s call has bolstered the Philippines’ protest and continued opposition to China’s aggressive activities in the WPS.

”We welcome President Obama’s demand as another strong stance against China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea. I appeal to the Chinese government to listen to the growing voice for maritime peace as a diplomatic solution to the territorial dispute,” Marcos said in a statement.

Last Wednesday, Obama and President Aquino met on the sideline of the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit Leaders’ Meeting as they agreed to take “bold step” to ease the tension in the disputed territory.

Marcos also said Manila and Beijing should not let the territorial dispute defines the long history of friendship, mutual respect and cooperation.

Earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the arbitration case the Philippines filed against China in The Hague is a “knot that has impeded the improvement and development of China -Philippines relations” and that it is up to Manila “how to loosen or open the knot”.

The Arbitration Court has ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the case, but China rejected the Tribunal’s authority.

“It is unfortunate that Philippine-China relations have come to this point. For a long time in our history we have been good neighbors. We should not let our territorial dispute become the focal point of our relations,” said Marcos.

Marcos has been urging the Philippine government to explore all other avenues to resolve the dispute, including bilateral talks, particularly after Beijing shifted its position and expressed willingness to discuss the issue based on International Law. PNA