PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has called for the continuation of maritime security partnerships between the United States and Southeast Asian nations, saying Washington could deter transnational crimes, according to the presidential palace.

He also recognized the role of a quadrilateral alliance among the US, Australia, India, and Japan in maintaining regional security.

“Let us continue our cooperation in fighting against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and also in combating marine plastic debris and marine pollution,” Mr. Marcos said at the 10th ASEAN-US Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, based on a state from Malacañang.

“Marcos said ASEAN welcomes the US’ active advocacy and concrete projects in support of efforts to combat transnational crimes, terrorism and trafficking of persons,” it added.

Mr. Marcos sought the continuation of capacity-building programs for ASEAN’s law enforcement agencies.

He also cited the Quad’s “unwavering support” for ASEAN unity and centrality, saying it should “complement the ASEAN-centered regional security architecture.”

At the ASEAN-US summit, leaders adopted a statement declaring the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership to “open new areas of cooperation vital to the future prosperity and security of our combined one billion people, and task our officials to follow up on its implementation.”

Mr. Marcos said the partnership would “serve as an additional anchor to our regional architecture and to the current international order that is presently volatile and constantly in flux”.

China, an important Philippine trade partner, has viewed the Quad as a US attempt to counter its influence in the region. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, has called the US-led informal grouping an “Indo-Pacific NATO.”

The Philippine leader has accepted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s invitation to visit China in January. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza