THE PHILIPPINES on Sunday said it shares the Group of Seven (G7) vision of a stable and secure Indo-Pacific region and stands firm against any actions that undermine international security and stability.

“We want to see a South China Sea of peace, stability and prosperity, and the cessation of interference, obstruction and harassment of the Philippines’ legal activities within our recognized maritime entitlements,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

“We appreciate the G7’s support in rejecting China’s baseless and expansive claims, and their call for China to cease its illegal activities, particularly its use of coast guard and maritime militia in the South China Sea that engage in dangerous maneuvers and the use of water cannons against Philippine vessels,” it added.

The agency also said it appreciates the G7’s reaffirmation that the 2016 arbitral award is a significant milestone and a useful basis for the peaceful management and resolution of differences at sea.

China has rejected the ruling by the United Nations-backed tribunal in the Hague.

In a communiqué dated April 19 that was released after the group’s Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Italy, the G7 said it is “seriously concerned” about the situation in the South China Sea and opposed China’s moves in blocking freedom of navigation in the waterway.

The group is composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and United States. The European Union is a “nonenumerated member.”

“There is no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militarization, coercive and intimidation activities in the South China Sea,” the G7 said.

Tensions between the two neighbors have worsened in the past year as China’s coast guard continues to block resupply missions to the shoal, where the Philippines grounded a World War II-era ship in 1999 to assert its sovereignty.

A United Nations-backed tribunal in 2016 said China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea has no legal basis, but Beijing has largely ignored the ruling and continued its island-building activities.

The DFA said the Philippines is keen on working with the G7 on efforts to support economic growth in the Philippines and the Indo-Pacific region.

Last week, the agency urged China to reflect on its aggressive actions in the South China Sea, adding that the Philippine decision to boost ties with Japan and the US at a recent summit was a “sovereign choice” for the country.

Earlier this month, Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. met with US President Joseph R. Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the nations’ first trilateral summit in Washington.

They committed to boost ties in maritime security amid China’s growing assertiveness in the waterway.

The Philippine President earlier said the three-way summit was not directed at anyone and only seeks to boost relations among the three nations. — J.V.D. Ordoñez