Latest Stories

US backs PH tack in sea row


Secretary of State John Kerry. AP FILE PHOTO

Citing the importance of peace and stability in Asia-Pacific region, the United States has thrown its full support behind the Philippines’ bid for arbitration in the United Nations to settle a territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

In remarks before talks with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in Washington on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated his government’s support for a code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea, home to vital sea lanes and islands believed to be sitting on vast energy and mineral reserves.

“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,” Kerry told reporters at the US Department of State. A transcript of his remarks was posted on the department’s website.

The West Philippine Sea dispute has long been a matter of keen interest for Kerry who, as senator, “was a moving force” behind a resolution in the US Senate seeking a peaceful settlement of disputes in those waters, Del Rosario said after his meeting with the new top US diplomat.

Kerry replaced former State Secretary Hillary Clinton, who left the Department of State at the start of the second term of the administration of President Barack Obama in February.

Del Rosario said Kerry discussed US support for the arbitration proceedings during their meeting and that Kerry “emphasized the importance the US 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,” Del Rosario said in a statement released separately by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

China not participating

China has refused to take part in the arbitration and dismissed the Philippines’ claims in the West Philippine Sea as  full of historical errors and based on a wrong interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

Philippine officials say, however, that the arbitration can proceed even without China’s participation.

While its rulings are binding on the parties concerned, the UN arbitral tribunal has no powers to enforce them.

Del Rosario’s meeting with Kerry was the first for the two officials since the former Democratic presidential challenger’s appointment to the US Department of State in February.

Del Rosario said he explained to Kerry the importance of the arbitration to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region in particular and to the effectiveness of international law in general.

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

Chinese incursions

Filed in January, the Philippine legal action seeks to stop Chinese incursions into parts of the West Philippine Sea that are within established Philippine maritime boundaries and hopes to nullify China’s claim to nearly the entire sea, including parts within the maritime borders of some countries in the region.

In refusing to take part in the arbitration, China asserted its “indisputable sovereignty” over the waters and insisted that the dispute may only be resolved through direct negotiations.

Del Rosario said he and Kerry agreed to press for a peaceful resolution to the maritime dispute when ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meet in Brunei later this month.

Asean failed to issue a joint statement after a ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh last year due to disagreements over how the bloc should handle China on the maritime issue.

“We agreed to work closely together, particularly in the coming Asean ministerial and summit meetings to maintain peace in the area and to resolve the disputes through peaceful means and in accordance with the rule of law,” Del Rosario said.

Defense partnership

Del Rosario and Kerry also committed to furthering the strategic defense partnership between the Philippines and the US in the face of “current challenges to the peace and stability of East Asia.”

“Our ability to deter threats or provocations is an important part of this cooperation. In this context, we discussed our joint efforts to build the capacity of the Philippines to defend its territory and people. We also exchanged views on the implementation of our agreed policy of increased rotational presence and enhanced exercises,” Del Rosario said.

He said he and Kerry also agreed to continue Philippine-US cooperation during times of natural disasters, particularly in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Albert Del Rosario , John Kerry , West Philippine Sea

  • http://www.facebook.com/kung.tufo Kung Tofu Tufo

    Small peni…is people are talkative, and boastful. Small pen…is syndrome.

  • Marcos5

    China will only respect the Philippines if they have 4 Military Frigates, 12 F-18′s and a fully modernized Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • If Napoles names Aquino allies, they’ll be brought to bar of justice – Palace
  • Lacson says diamond-studded earring snatched from wife fake
  • Pope John XXIII launched Vatican II and then some
  • Militants: Napoles as state witness is ‘clear travesty of justice’
  • US ‘closely watching’ for signs of N.Korea nuclear test
  • Sports

  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Pacers rally past Hawks 101-85 to even series
  • David Moyes out as Manchester United manager
  • Nadal to face fellow Spaniard at Barcelona Open
  • Defensive Chelsea holds Atletico in scoreless draw
  • Lifestyle

  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Sweet party for Andi Manzano
  • Safety in online buying and selling
  • Entertainment

  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Summer movie preview: Bay reboots ‘Transformers’
  • Business

  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • $103M Vista Land bonds tendered for redemption
  • Oil slips to $102 as US crude supplies seen rising
  • SC stops Meralco power rate hike anew
  • Technology

  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • New York police Twitter campaign backfires badly
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  • China, rivals sign pact to ease maritime tensions
  • Visa-free US trip? Do not believe it, says consulate
  • Obama visit to Asia seen as counterweight to China
  • Violence mars militant protest at US Embassy
  • Marketplace