Yasay urges sobriety, restraint over sea dispute in Asia-Europe meet
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Friday raised the South China Sea dispute during the 11th Asia-Europe Leaders Meeting (Asem) in Mongolia, as he called for “sobriety and restraint” following the Philippines’ landmark win in its arbitration case against China.
“The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to the ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the SCS (South China Sea). We call on all parties to exercise restraint and sobriety,” Yasay said in his speech before world leaders.
READ: Philippines wins arbitration case vs. China over South China Sea
Asem has 53 members, including China.
Despite China’s rejection of the ruling, Yasay reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to a peaceful resolution of disputes and to reduce tensions in the region.
READ: PH urges China to ‘respect’ sea ruling
“The Philippines reiterates its abiding commitment to pursue the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with a view to promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region,” he said.
“At the same time we attach great importance to measures that will restore trust and confidence among parties in the region. The Philippines shall continue to engage concerned parties to finding ways to reduce regional tensions and to build greater trust and confidence. In this regard, the Philippines will continue fostering mutually beneficial relations with all nations,” Yasay added.
Yasay attended the summit on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, who chose to “stay close to his countrymen” in the first few months of his presidency.
READ: Duterte to skip Asia-Europe meet, ‘to stay close’ to Pinoys
The UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands last Tuesday released its 501-page decision on the arbitration case filed by the Philippines in 2013, which concluded that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.’”
As expected, China, through its foreign ministry, said it “neither accepts nor recognizes” the ruling, calling it “null and void and has no binding force.” RAM
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