Renewing their demand for China to stop its militarization of the South China Sea (SCS), leaders of some of the most powerful democracies in the world collectively known as the Group of Seven (G7) have reiterated their support for the Philippines amid growing tensions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In a statement following this year's summit held in Apulia, Italy, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States declared once again their concerns over what is happening in the Indo-Pacific Region.

'We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion,' the G7 said.

'We continue opposing China's dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia in the South China Sea and its repeated obstruction of countries' high seas freedom of navigation. We express serious concern about the increasing use of dangerous maneuvers and water cannons against Philippine vessels,' part of their statement read.

The G7 also reemphasized their recognition of the 2016 Arbitral Ruling that rejected China's vast maritime claims in the SCS which favors the Philippines and several other claimant countries in the region.

'In this regard, we reaffirm that there is no legal basis for China's expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China's militarization and coercive and intimidation activities in the South China Sea,' the statement noted.

The G7 likewise stressed the universal and unified character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and reaffirmed the law's important role in setting out the legal framework that governs all activities in the oceans and the seas.

'We reiterate that the award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal on 12 July 2016 is a significant milestone, which is legally binding upon the parties to those proceedings and a useful basis for peacefully resolving disputes between the parties,' the statement said.

Just two months ago, the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Capri, Italy, also resulted in the issuance of a communiqué that discussed, among others, how the G7 maintains its position that China's vast maritime claims in the SCS has no legal leg to stand on.

The G7 issued similar statements last year during its G7 Leader's Summit held in Hiroshima, Japan where US President Joe Biden reassured Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of America's commitment to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific Region.

In April 2024, the Philippines, Japan and the US also made a similar statement against China's hostile acts in the SCS through the use of coast guard and maritime militia vessels during a meeting among President Marcos, Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden in Washington.

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