Locsin reaffirms PH commitment to ‘effective, substantive’ South China Sea code
MANILA, Philippines — Recent developments in the South China Sea “threaten” the peace, stability, and security in the region, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. told his counterparts during a recent online meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers.
Thus, Locsin reiterated the Philippine government’s commitment to Code of Conduct negotiations, and highlighted the need to lessen tensions between great powers by “inviting them to the table” and “away from what promises to turn our front yard into the next theater of war.”
Amid the health crisis, the United States earlier accused China of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to establish a full military presence in the South China Sea and control sea lanes. Beijing has denied the accusations.
As the country coordinator for ASEAN-China dialogues, Manila’s top diplomat said the Philippines “remains steadfast” in working closely with fellow ASEAN states and China to achieve an “effective and substantive” Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
China and countries that have conflicting territorial claims over the South China Sea, including ASEAN members Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei, have been negotiating for a Code of Conduct, an accord that seeks to prevent the escalation of tensions in the disputed waterway.
China has been pushing for its expansive claims in the South China Sea, refusing to recognize the 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that invalidated its ambitious nine-dash line that claims virtually the entire body of water.
According to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea has no basis.
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