MANILA — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte have pledged to uphold an international rules-based order as a foundation for peace and security. This agreement came during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of President Marcos's working visit to Singapore, as confirmed by the Palace on Saturday.

According to Philippines News Agency, the meeting focused on the shared challenges both nations face concerning their respective neighbors. The Philippines is currently engaged in territorial disputes with China over the West Philippine Sea, while Lithuania has ongoing tensions with Russia. President Marcos stressed the importance of adhering to international law to manage these disputes. "All we want really is the promotion of peace and the national interest," Marcos stated, emphasizing his commitment to acting in the Philippines' interests rather than aligning with major powers such as Beijing, Washington, or Moscow.

Marcos highlighted the necessity of embedding national actions within the framework of international law and rules-based agreements to peacefully resolve conflicts. He also noted the strategic alliances some countries form to strengthen their positions on law and sovereignty.

Prime Minister Šimonyte supported Marcos's position, underscoring the significance of international law as a protective measure for smaller states. "Small states matter, international law matters because this is a safety network for small states," she remarked.

Additionally, President Marcos reflected on the global ramifications of regional conflicts like the Ukraine-Russia war, noting how issues that might seem regional in nature can have far-reaching effects across the globe.

President Marcos returned to Manila on Saturday after concluding his state visit to Brunei Darussalam and his working trip to Singapore, where he made history as the first Philippine president to deliver a keynote address at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue.

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