The Philippines will make a statement regarding China’s behavior in the South China Sea at the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Indonesia next week, an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.
At a Palace press briefing, DFA Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Daniel Espiritu was asked if the Philippines would push for a statement regarding the recent incident at the Ayungin Shoal and China’s publication of a new map that places nearly the entire South China Sea within its territory.
“The Philippines is definitely pushing for a statement in that regard, but of course I cannot give you the final text yet because it’s still being negotiated,” Espiritu said.
“I cannot say; there are ten countries…there are external partners involved, and it only takes one to object and you lose consensus. So I cannot predict at this point,” he said.
Asked if it would be a form of condemnation, Espiritu said, “Well we are saying something in that regard… not exactly the word condemnation but to that effect.”
Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei, all ASEAN members, are also claimants to parts of the South China Sea.
China claimed the South China Sea nearly in its entirety, but the tribunal in The Hague invalidated this claim on July 12, 2016, following a case filed by the Philippines in 2013.
Beijing has ignored the ruling and continued its activities that other countries said could cause instability in the resource-rich region.
On August 5, the Chinese Coast Guard used water cannons against the Philippine Coast Guard fleet that was on a resupply mission to Filipino troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre.
The BRP Sierra Madre has been at the Ayungin Shoal since 1999. The ship, manned by more than a dozen Marines and sailors, has become a symbol of Philippine sovereignty in the offshore territory.
China also published the 2023 edition of its map, which the DFA said ”has no basis under international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).” — VBL, GMA Integrated News
Source : GMA News Online