Palace: G7 declaration backs PH claim in sea dispute with China
Malacañang on Sunday said that the declaration of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders on the South China Sea supported the country’s claim in the disputed waters.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the G7 Declaration stressed adherence to the rule of law in solving the territorial dispute—a key element of the country’s policy on the issue.
“In expressing concern over the South China Sea issue, the Group of Seven or G7 Declaration affirmed the importance upholding the rule of law. Adherence to the rule of law as embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has always been the linchpin of Philippine policy,” Coloma said in a radio dzRB interview.
The Palace official said that the members of the international community, which include the G7, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), have extolled outgoing President Benigno Aquino III for pursuing a “rules-based, peaceful and diplomatic” resolution of the country’s territorial dispute with China.
“This advocacy has brought to light the critical importance of upholding freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, and has been the basis for the Philippines’ decision to file a petition with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. This move of the Philippines has been welcomed and encouraged by many nations,” he added.
In their declaration, the leaders of the G7 advanced economies—representing Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States—pushed for a “peaceful” resolution of disputes in Asia and that “freedom of navigation and overflight” should be respected.
“We are concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and emphasize the fundamental importance of peaceful management and settlement of disputes,” the G7 leaders said.
They also urged that “judicial means,” like arbitration, should be used for dispute resolution.
The Philippines brought China’s claims on the South China Sea before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. However, China said that it does not recognize the case.
China then slammed the G7 leaders for supposedly taking sides in the territorial disputes.
“China is strongly dissatisfied with what Japan and the G7 have done. It is hoped the G7 countries would take an unbiased and just position, honor their commitment of not taking sides in territorial disputes, stop making irresponsible remarks, and do more things that contribute to regional peace and stability,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press briefing on Friday.