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    Posted March 1, 2014 by

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    2 Asean nations to settle sea dispute peacefully

    THE Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on Saturday announced that President Benigno Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak have agreed to pursue peaceful settlement of the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
    “As brothers in Asean, our two nations believe that the potential of our nations, and of our community, to prosper can only be fully realized in an international context where rule of law is upheld,” Aquino said in a statement after meeting with Razak at the Prime Minister’s office in Kuala Lumpur.
    He added: “The Prime Minister and I agreed on the peaceful settlement of disputes in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, in accordance with the rule of law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”
    The two leaders believe that adherence to the rule of law, positive engagement and sincere dialogue are fundamental in building a prosperous and peaceful Southeast Asia, President Aquino said.
    Both the Philippines and Malaysia are claimants to the contested territories. Other countries from the Asean seeking ownership include Vietnam and Brunei. Non-Asean claimants are China and Taiwan.
    The Philippines has elevated its territorial dispute with China for international arbitration saying it has exhausted all diplomatic means to resolve the issue through diplomatic and bilateral talks. The move encountered strong objection from China.
    Official statement from United States said freedom of navigation in the area should prevail, even as it was not taking sides in the dispute.
    The US urged all parties to agree on a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to avoid miscalculations and lessen tensions.
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