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22 JUNE 2011
PHL PRESSES ADHERENCE TO RULE OF LAW
17 June 2011 United Nations, NY The Philippines pressed for adherence to the rule of law in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea and rejected efforts to broaden disputes in areas in the region.
At the 21st Meeting of States Parties to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (SPLOS 21), the Philippines stressed, “The rule of law is the bedrock of peace, order and fairness in modern societies. The rise of a rules-based international system has been the great equalizer in global affairs. Respect and adherence to international law have preserved peace and resolved conflicts. International law has given equal voice to nations regardless of political, economic or military stature, banishing the unlawful use of sheer force.”
In a statement delivered by Mr. Henry Bensurto, Secretary General of the Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs Secretariat (CMOAS), he noted that “recent developments in the Recto bank have tended to broaden the concept of disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea to include even those waters and continental shelves that are clearly within the sovereignty and/or jurisdiction of the Philippines.”
“The Philippines firmly rejects any efforts in this regard. Such actions are inconsistent with UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” stressed CMOAS Secretary General Bensurto during his statement.
Underlining the Philippines’ commitment to international law and the rule of law, specifically UNCLOS which is considered the world’s constitution on oceans, CMOAS Secretary General Bensurto said that “We expect nothing less from our international partners.”
Underscoring the primacy of international law, particularly the UNCLOS, CMOAS Secretary General Bensurto said “In situations where disputes on maritime claims exist, UNCLOS provides clues as well as answers by which such maritime disputes could be addressed.”
CMOAS Secretary General Bensurto also urged all parties to the ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea to faithfully abide by the Declaration provisions, including paragraph 5 which mandates parties to “exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”
“The Declaration of Conduct expresses in a concrete way our collective goal for rules-based action by all concerned parties,” said CMOAS Secretary General Bensurto in the statement.
During the meeting, the need for maintaining peace and security in the South China Sea and the primacy of the UNCLOS was also echoed by Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Singapore in their respective national statements. These nations also called for the peaceful resolution of disputes as enshrined in the UNCLOS. END
Reference:Robert E.A. Borje
Philippine Mission to the United Nations
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