PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed tensions in the South China Sea by telephone on Wednesday, according to the presidential palace.

“In the initial part of their phone conversation, the two leaders discussed the security issues facing the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea,” it said in a statement, referring to areas of the South China Sea within the Southeast Asian nation’s exclusive economic zone.

Mr. Marcos told his French counterpart the Philippines would continue “to maintain the peace, to maintain the stability, keep the shipping lanes open and airways open.”

He thanked the French government for following international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and sending “French vessels to come and patrol.”

Mr. Macron said he plans to send a group of French ministers to the Philippines later this year.

“We can work on what was just held last June, the 10th Philippine-France joint economic committee meeting,” Mr. Marcos told him. “And many of the businessmen from France were able to speak with our ministers and some of the local businessmen as well.” — KATA