The Philippines adheres to the primacy of international law in resolving territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told a meeting of Southeast Asian diplomats in Cambodia Monday.
Speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh, Del Rosario said abiding by the rules set by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the legitimate way of dealing with conflicting and overlapping claims in the Spratly islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Apart from the Philippines and host Cambodia, Asean also groups Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, and Vietnam.
Four Asean members—the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei—are claimants in the Spratlys, along with China and Taiwan.
In his remarks, Del Rosario also reaffirmed the Philippines’ “commitment to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”
He noted that as Asean commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed in Phnom Penh in 2002, Asean was “now working to identify the main elements of the regional code of conduct.”