Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said a "gentleman’s agreement” made by his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, with Beijing on the South China Sea dispute was deliberately hidden from the public.

"They call it gentleman’s agreement. I call it secret agreement,” Marcos told reporters in Washington on Friday as he wrapped up his visit for a trilateral meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The country needs to know what Duterte agreed to or if there was a compromise, Marcos said.

The Philippines, under Marcos, has asserted its claims in the South China Sea, ramping up efforts to maintain a World War II-era ship that was deliberately grounded in 1999 to serve as Manila’s outpost in the Second Thomas Shoal.