Wednesday, April 24, 2013

European Parliament urges restraint in Philippines, China sea row

The European Parliament  has recently adopted a resolution approving a report which included its support to the Philippines’ initiative to seek arbitration to settle a territorial dispute with China.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said the report, which was approved March 14, underscored the need to settle the dispute over the South China Sea.

In the report, te Parliament said it "is alarmed at the escalating tension and therefore urgently appeals to all parties involved to refrain from unilateral political and military actions, to tone down statements and to settle their conflicting territorial claims in the South China Seas by means of international arbitration in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Convetion on the Law of the Sea, in order to ensure regional stability."

The report, prepared by the Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs on European Union-China relations, likewise called on China to "commit itself to observing the UN Charter and international law in pursuit of its goals abroad."

"The European Parliament's resolution is a milestone  in the efforts of our country to generate awareness and support for our arbitration efforts," said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario.

“The recourse to arbitration is firmly rooted in the tradition of good global citizenship. We are strongly committed to seeing this arbitration through and there should be no doubts about our resolve to clarify our maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law,” Del Rosario added.

The European Parliament represents the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world with some 375 million eligible voters in 2009.

Similarly, a United States Senate resolution on the peaceful settlement of disputes in the West Philippine Sea was likewise unanimously passed in 2012.

Beijing has consistently refused to discuss the territorial row under any arrangement save bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and China.

Zhang Hua, Deputy Chief of Political Section and Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy, said the "disputes on South China Sea should be settled by parties concerned through negotiations."

"This (settlement of disputes through negotiations) is also the consensus reached by parties concerned in the DOC (The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea)," Zhang  has said.-The Philippine Star (April 23, 2013)

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