Asean support vs China incursions a work in progress, says DFA


MANILA, Philippines—Noting it is a work in progress, the Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday said the Philippines has been mobilizing support of its allies in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to counter Chinese intrusion in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Raul Hernandez, the DFA spokesman, recalled that during the Asean Summit held early this month in Cambodia, “we asked Asean to take the lead in resolving the West Philippine Sea issue, and to bring the Spratlys claimants together towards a rules-based, multilateral and peaceful resolution of the issue.”

“We also emphasized at the summit the centrality of Asean with respect to the drafting of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea incorporating key elements to include a dispute settlement mechanism and an administrative structure to implement them,” Hernandez told the Inquirer.

But Asean member-states “need to agree themselves first on the draft before talking to China,” he said.

Aside from the Philippines, Asean also groups Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Laos, Cambodia and Brunei Darussalam.

Four Asean members—the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei—are among the Spratlys claimants, along with China and Taiwan.

Hernandez pointed out that “our regional and international partners, including the United States, our treaty ally, are assisting us upgrade our capabilities and build a minimum credible defense posture for us to be able to protect our territorial sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction.”

At the Asean Summit in Phnom Penh, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario also reiterated that the Philippines adhered to the primacy of international law in resolving territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Speaking at the Asean foreign ministers’ meeting, 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 group of islands.

At the same time, he reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.

The DFA brushed aside media reports about worsening relations with Beijing, stressing that the West Philippine Sea dispute was “not the sum total of Philippines-China relations.”

Hernandez said, “We have deep and broad relations with China, and we are committed to raise this to the next higher level.”

He added the more than three decades of diplomatic ties with the regional power “have benefited both our countries and peoples.”

On Sunday, Senator Joker Arroyo urged the Aquino administration to mobilize support of its Asean allies against Chinese incursions on Philippine territory.

Arroyo said Asean failed to issue even a “resolution of concern or sympathy” during the standoff with China over the Scarborough Shoal, which Manila calls Panatag Shoal.

According to the lawmaker, “we should have a diplomatic offensive. (Asean member-states) have been meeting. But when one of members is threatened, they have not even issued a stand.”

Arroyo said it was high time the Philippines saw Asean, of which Manila is a founding member, as the main battleground to resolve diplomatically conflicting territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.

He was wary the Spratlys and the Scarborough Shoal could go the way of Sabah, which was taken over by Malaysia although it formed part of the territory of the Sultanate of Sulu prior to the formation of the Malaysian Federation in 1963.

Last weekend, Sen. Gregorio Honasan said that next time China throws its weight in the West Philippine Sea, Asean should automatically weigh in.

Honasan said a better course of action would be for the government to immediately report incursions to Asean, the US, or the United Nations. The Philippines’ allies should take immediate action, he said.

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  • Bill_Li

     Who would want to support the Poorest Third World Sh!thole in Asia??

  • Meow Ming

    Revolt my brethren and bring down the communist regime! Long live democracy!

  • BURADOR—Phil. Voice

    NEVER count on ASEAN nor American——It a soul Philippine problem
    Other ASEAN states are AFRAID of China——
    Philippine HAVE to USE the RESOURCES it HAS to confront China——
    If Philippine HAS nothing—BE it–
    It is the RESULT of TOO much POLITICS and CORRUPTION in Philippines—-
    Put the Philippine in ORDER and it WILL give RESULTS—

    • marcos marcos

       be independent is best for a nation.

  • PublicPolicy101

    DFA, Sir, how do we possibly convince ASEAN to act on words (multilateral agreement) and act on it. Everyday our seas are approached by poachers from Malaysia, Vietnam and et. al. 

    See current report of Vietnamese poachers just today and do tell us.

    • marcos marcos

       DFA knocks at wrong door.

  • sparrow13

    At the end of the day…when war couldn’t be avoided in Asian region….and once the last smoke of battle faded…Communist China would be destroyed and divided just like the ancient time. Taiwan will get the bigger part of the land and rule over the remnants of once arrogant communist supporters. A new hope and a new way of life for everyone without the communists’ iron grip.

    Why? Red China is already on a critical level of supporting its own arrogance towards its neighboring countries. Red China is surrounded by 14 countries with long standing territorial disputes. Once it all banded together to fight communist China together with other Western Allies…communist China is doomed!  It’s like the classic “FLEA ATTACK” strategy. Bite the dog on all parts of the body until it get cra-zy where to scratch. A divided China is a big economic and political boost for the world. It will signal a new beginning and another good endeavor for the stagnant world economy. 

    The arrogance of communist China would be flattened to the ground by the combined armed forces of ASEAN countries, India, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, USA and other Western Allies…Then, dividing the spoil of war. 

    Communist China and it’s arrogant and ig-norant supporters may intimidate and ridicule the weak  Philippines now….but once they hit this small country……that would be the signal of the beginning of the end of communist rule in China. Mark my words! 

    • Melony Smith

      You are dreaming. ASEAN is a talk forum. Have they supported you? NO.

      Some of them are claiming Spartly as their own.

      Some of them have large trade relationships with China.

      Some of them dislike you for claiming Malaysian Sabah as your land.

      Some of them think you are silly for fighting with China over a few rocks and lose the bigger opportunities.

      Some of them think you are crazy for your behavior with 1 used and decommissioned naval ship.

      Some of them think your maids are populating their countries.

      • focusrightly

         Well said.  Wake up Philippines..oh wake up

  • Godofwine73

    There is nothing wrong in asking help. But we need to help ourselves first.

  • marcos marcos

    I hope that DFA would have learned something from this incident.

  • rod2002ney

    CHINA IS NOW THE 3RD MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, next to US and Russia. Most of you think of China as the China of 30 or 40 years ago. They made a rapid modernization and development of their military and weaponry since 1990s. The US and Asean will never wage a disastrous and devastating war against China with only oil in Spratly at stake. Let’s solve this peacefully through negotiations with China. Not warmongering against China. 

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