US backs PH bid for arbitration on West Philippine Sea row


Secretary of State John Kerry. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has thrown its full support behind the Philippines’ bid to settle disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) through arbitration as the country’s long-time defense ally underscored its importance as a partner in the Asia-Pacific.

In remarks before talks with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in Washington D.C. Tuesday morning (US time), Secretary of State John Kerry also reiterated his government’s support for a code of conduct in the disputed waters, a critical international sea lane.

“The Philippines is one of our five Asia-Pacific allies and a very, very important relationship at this point in time when there are tensions over the South China Sea, where we support a code of conduct, and we are deeply concerned [about] some of those tensions and would like to see it worked out through a process of arbitration,” said Kerry in remarks before media at the US State Department.

Del Rosario said Kerry expounded on this during their meeting and “emphasized the importance the United States gives to maintaining peace and stability in the area.”

“More importantly, Secretary Kerry assured me that the US is committed to supporting the efforts of the Philippines to settle the disputes peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law,” said Manila’s top diplomat.

Del Rosario’s meeting with Kerry in Washington is the first for the two officials since Kerry’s appointment earlier this year.

During their talks, Del Rosario updated the US official on the country’s arbitration bid currently pending before the United Nations arbitral tribunal.

Filed in January, the legal action seeks to stop Chinese incursions into parts of the West Philippine Sea within established Philippine maritime boundaries and nullify China’s “nine-dash line” claim to the waters, which places almost all of the sea’s resource-rich territories within its domain.

“I emphasized its (arbitration) importance to the future stability of our region in particular and to the future efficacy of international law in general,” Del Rosario said in a statement.

“I stressed that we are committed to seeing this arbitration through. There should be no confusion or any doubts about our resolve,” he added.

China has formally rejected the Philippine move, asserting its “indisputable sovereignty” over the waters and reiterating that the dispute may only be resolved through direct negotiations. Under the rules, however, arbitration proceedings would proceed even without the participation of the other party.

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  • Val Sor

    China also grabbed lands in its northwest borders and occupies them. Tibet, and the Chekoslovaks that it annihilated in medieval ages. China does not originally include its northwest area. So, using Chinese logic, the Chekoslovak really has historical claim on northwest China and China should move out of there. But no, China forgets about that. Do not ever believe of any historic claim. China has no rights on the West Phillipine sea. But as for us, let us boycott Made In China products. Every dollar you pay for a Chinese product, 60 cents of that goes to Chinese government coffers they use to build up Chinese Navy that invades our territory in Spratlys and Panatag Shoal. Let’s make no mistake, boycott Made In China now!

    • Iris

      Would you boycott Chinese ?

      • Nick Lim

        i will not boycott flawless hairy armpit chinese women.

    • anonymous

      we are not coward. let’s go to war.

  • Timothy Te-Co

    @twitter-1307612689:disqus ..if your leaders truly believe that you have a good stand on what you claim, they should have joined and intelligently contested the matter before the arbitration. We filipinos admit to the fact that we cannot face China’s strong military might that is why our leaders brought it before the arbitration, to diplomatically solve it through peaceful means. For all you chinese know, if the arbitration decision comes out favoring China, we shall respect it.

    • Iris

      How can you claim that you shall respect it ?

      1. Code of conduct says that parties resolve the dispute betwen themselves, without internationalize it. PH doesn’t respect that;

      2. UN chief said that China and PH should find amicable solution betwen them, PH doesn’t respect that;

      3. China said that she is willing to share, which is the best solution no court can’t offer, PH doesn’t respect that.

      • Yusuke Zenkibuta

        And do you want us to believe what China says? item #3 specifically? haha everything china says is a lie. Your officials says a thing and do otherwise

      • Timothy Te-Co

        Answer to your intelligent points.

        No. 1. – As clearly gleaned on that provision, I believe it is only advisory. There is nothing wrong in bringing the matter before international arbitration otherwise it would have been rejected.

        No. 2 – What the UN Chief said was also advisory and doesn’t speak of the stand of the UN on that. Arbitration is still the best way of putting both China and the Philippines claims to peacefully and diplomatic means.

        No. 3 – That is a big question on our end…China to share?!!! You do not speak about the decision of your leaders hence you No. 3 is a dream.

        Our leaders brought the matter before arbitration knowing well that we have a strong claim against yours. Since your leaders are non-sense and still lives in the dinosaur era, we can no longer wait until their brains evolve into a more progressive one, hence the arbitration.

  • tiriring

    Chinese ka ba na supot na bakla Iris?

  • w33k3nd3r

    While they’re at it, since they flew the B-2 and the B-52 bombers over South Korea, they might as well exercise flying the Enola Gay over Luzon.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      sorry the enola gay has been retired

    • tonygadoy

      Where are you in this world? Are you on this earth?

      • w33k3nd3r

        Right beside you, buddy!

      • tonygadoy

        You must be the Urinola Gay.

      • tonygadoy

        You are absolutely the Gay in URINOLA.

      • tonygadoy

        You are absolutely the GAY IN URINOLA.

  • TrueBlue

    There is no need for costly arbitration. Kiram would be more happy to let his followers engage the chinese with minimum cost.

  • Joe Kano

    What, no goofy propaganda statement from Bayan?


    TINGNAN natin kung paano tatapaatan ng mga cheks si John ‘Abe Lincoln’ Kerry. Beterano sa Vietnam yan tulad ni McCain. Sanay sa banggaan.

  • Cali To

    next in the news…..China’s tantrums!!!! Poor Cry Baby China!!!!! Wahahahaha….

  • Hadji Killa

    Read between the lines! The US DOES NOT support Philippine claims (or any claims for that matter) in the South China Sea (Sec. Kerry called it that for a reason — it is the official name). All this article says is what US officials have been saying since: the US supports a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the disputes. US is not endorsing claims made by PI, China, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, and whoever else wants it.

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