Sea row, migrant rights top PH concerns in Asean meet
SINGAPORE – The maritime row in the South China Sea and the issue on migrant rights remain the top concerns of the Philippines as regional and world leaders meet here for the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Del Mar Yap said Monday the adoption of a code of conduct in South China Sea is an “important” issue for the Philippines as Beijing continues its aggressive reclamation and militarization of the disputed waterway.
“So we are negotiating. Asean is negotiating a code of conduct with China on the South China Sea, West Philippine Sea. So that is also an important thing to be looking at,” Yap said in an interview.
Aside from the sea dispute, Yap said the issue on migrant rights and migration are of interest to the Philippines.
“So that has been one of our important topics that we push for Asean and that continues to be an important topic,” he said.
The Asean and China has yet to complete and adopt a code of conduct of parties in the South China Sea, which is seen to prevent escalation of tensions in the disputed waterway as some Asean member-states and China have overlapping claims over the area.
Members of the Asean and China are expected to meet during the Asean-China Summit and Asean East Asia Summit here.
During the Philippines’ chairmanship of the Asean Summit in 2017, leaders of the 10-member states avoided mention of a joint statement on China’s construction of artificial islands and militarization in the South China Sea.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will represent China in the summit here. /kga