PNoy calls for conclusion of the ASEAN-China Code of Conduct to resolve disputes

ASEAN-Russia summit
Before the ASEAN-Russia summit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
President Benigno S. Aquino III today emphasized that rules and norms anchored on international law are fundamental in promoting trust and confidence among nations, and in ensuring stability and peace in the international community.
“At the core of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership is the belief that our actions should adhere to the rule of law,” President Aquino said at the 16th ASEAN-China Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
President Aquino said that the Philippines has taken a two-track complementary approach to disputes in that sea with many names that is both peaceful and rules-based.
“First, to manage tensions, we are advocating an expeditious conclusion of the ASEAN-China Code of Conduct. Second, to resolve disputes, we are pursuing arbitration for the clarification of maritime entitlements. Both tracks are legally-binding and anchored on international law,” the President explained.
The President said that there is a collective problem in the sea known by many names: territories in a sea which is west of the Philippines, east of Vietnam, north of Malaysia, south of China are claimed in whole, or in part, by all.
“These claims have led to tensions, and these have created problems between us,” the President stressed. However, “a problem can be turned into an opportunity if we have the will to act now and not pass on the burden to succeeding generations.”
Noting that the first official consultations between ASEAN and China on the Code of Conduct were held last month in Suzhou, China, the President stressed that the early conclusion of a legally-binding Code of Conduct is necessary to foster peace, positive engagement and stability in the region.
“As we look towards finalizing the COC, we urge all parties to observe implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the sea known by many names in all its aspects,” the President said.