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    Posted June 9, 2014 by

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    Phl renews call for peaceful end to sea disputes

    THE Philippines on Monday renewed its call for the peaceful, rules-based resolution of disputes in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.
    The Philippine government echoed its first call during high-level meetings of the ASEAN, ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Yangon, Myanmar.
    Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Evan Garcia, Philippine Senior Official and Head of Delegation to the meetings, emphasized that recent provocative and unilateral actions by China constitute an infringement on the rights of the Philippines and other countries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and a violation of the 2002 ASEAN China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
    Garcia called on all parties to exercise self-restraint as provided by paragraph 5 of the DOC, citing that these unilateral actions "raise the level of tensions to a new high and undermine the spirit of good neighborly ties and mutual confidence necessary for the region to move forward and decisively to implement the DOC fully and effectively."
    He underlined the urgency for ASEAN and China to expeditiously conclude a substantive and legally-binding Code of Conduct.
    Noting that the Arbitral Tribunal has fixed 15 December 2014 as the date by which China can submit its response to the Philippine Memorial, Undersecretary Garcia stated that Philippines has invited China from the very beginning to take part in the peaceful, rules-based process to clarify the extent of its maritime claims before the international community.
    The Philippines called for regional maritime norms which are compliant with international law to promote good order at sea, to serve as confidence-building measures and to reduce risks of miscalculation.
    The series of meetings hosted by Myanmar, Chair of ASEAN in 2014, began June 7 to prepare for the Ministerial Meetings in August.
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