UN case a sign PH respects int’l law–Gazmin
The Philippines’ decision to file an arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea is proof that the country upholds and respects international law.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin raised the issue of territorial dispute during an informal meeting of defense officials from southeast Asian countries in Vientiane, Laos, this week.
In a statement, the defense secretary stressed the importance of international law in guiding and influencing the actions of member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“The Philippines’ decision to seek arbitration on its maritime entitlements in the South China Sea is a manifestation of having international law being the anchor of a state’s actions,” he said.
He made the statement during the four-day 10th Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in Laos, which ends today.
The international tribunal is expected to hand down a ruling within the year on the Philippines’ arbitration case against China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.
During the informal meeting, China said it will not abide by the international court’s decision even as the Philippines stressed that parties signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea are bound to abide by the arbitrary tribunal’s ruling.
Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan suggested the conduct of military exercises between China and Asean member-states in the South China Sea and other forms of practical cooperation.
He said China would support Asean’s development, including member states’ role in regional security architecture.
During the informal meeting on the sidelines of the ADMM, Gazmin said the states’ actions should be consistent with policy pronouncements that they are promoting regional peace and stability.
The Asean defense ministers exchanged views on regional security issues, noting that progress on practical cooperation have been done within the limits of the ADMM.
“There was a shared sense that security issues continue to pose challenges to the region’s stability. These include maritime security, violent extremism and natural disasters,” Gazmin said.
During the meeting, the Asean defense ministers signed the 10th ADMM Joint Declaration for international and regional cooperation against terrorism, and for the observation of international protocols such as the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.
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