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UK reiterates support for PH sovereignty, UNCLOS

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By Veronica Uy

Following the injury of Filipino soldiers in China’s latest aggression in the West Philippine Sea, the United Kingdom has reiterated its support of Philippine sovereignty and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

At the King’s Birthday celebration on Tuesday, Ambassador Laure Beaufils said: “We as the UK continue to stand with the Philippines in support of its sovereignty. And today, as ever we do, emphasizing the critical importance of international law, and in particular UNCLOS as the governing framework for all the activities that people should participate in, and condemning actions that undermine navigational freedoms, challenge international law, and do so.”

The ambassador also drew parallels between the recent Philippine Independence Day celebration and the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings, where King Charles III spoke.

King Charles III “spoke of the sacrifices made by previous generations for our liberty and reminded us that free nations must come together to oppose tyranny…I was struck by the parallels in language and values. Be it in the Philippines or in the UK, the bravery and sacrifice of our fallen heroes resonates today as much as they did in the past. And we cherish our independence, freedom, and sovereignty today as much as we did then,” she said.

The ambassador took the occasion to introduce the new monarch to Filipinos including his advocacy for the environment.

“The King is steeped in experience and public service—a modern King with a strong vision and a passion for the youth, community, diversity, the environment, multi-religious, multi-cultural communities, and indeed the multicultural and multi-religious consequences,” Ambassador Beaufils said.

“The King’s most well-known passion, of course, is that of environmental sustainability. He was advocating concepts such as the circular economy and natural capital years before they captured the public’s imagination. He remained the global champion for environmental sustainability across the world,” she added.

The ambassador was most applauded when she welcomed the guests to the reception in Tagalog.

“Natutuwa akong tanggapin kayo dito ngayong gabi. Ito ay isang napakahalagang okasyon para sa amin. Natutuwa akong ipagdiwang ang kaarawan ng aming hari kasama ang aming mga Pinoy na kaibigan,” she said.

Ambassador Beaufils also explained why there is a June 18 birthday celebration for the British king when his actual birthday falls on November 14.

“This year we are going back to tradition, a tradition started by George II in 1748, upholding the monarch’s official birthday in June. With a November birthday being too cold for a celebratory parade in London, he tied his celebrations with the annual Trooping the Colour military parade in June. And so it is again, 276 years later. Today we are here to honour our King,” she said.

George II was also a November baby. He was born on November 9, 1683.

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