Pangilinan: Talks between Asean, China should be based on respect
Talks on the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China should be based on respect, Senator Kiko Pangilinan said on Thursday.
“Respect. For oneself, for who you’re talking to, for your countrymen, for the environment. That should be the basis of any Asean-China talks on the Code of Conduct in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“Listen to the sentiments of ordinary citizens. Filipino, Chinese, or Asean people, no one wants conflict,” he added.
The senator said the government should have engaged with China and the country’s Asean neighbors as well as “with their people” after the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal ruled in favor of the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea in 2016.
“Explain the victory of the Philippines is a win for all, especially to the small fishermen, whether Filipino, Chinese, or from Asean,” he said.
Pangilinan also pushed for a “zone of peace and sustainability in the seas” that he said “we are duty-bound to protect.”
“Highlight the participation of fishermen, seafarers, and the so-called environmental activists or environmental advocates,” he noted.
The senator added that the talks that the Philippines, China, and the Asean engage in “represent their people and the next generation—those who are most affected by their decisions.”
Pangilinan issued the statement three days after President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Singapore for the 33rd Asean Summit. /ee
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