Philippines backs G7 call implementation of sea code of conduct
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - April 12, 2016 - 9:24pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Tuesday expressed its support for the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries' statement calling for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea.

Foreign ministers of the G7—composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—and the high representative of the European Union recently released a joint statement on maritime security.

READ: G7 ministers oppose 'provocative actions' in South China Sea

The G7 ministers expressed concern over rising tensions in the disputed waters and urged concerned states to refrain from conducting land reclamation activities in the region.

"The Philippines supports the G7's recognition of 'the importance of maintaining the sea as governed by the rule of law, which is indispensable for the peace and prosperity of the international community,'" the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

The DFA stressed that the Philippines advocates a peaceful, rules-based approach to the disputes in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines earlier filed an arbitration case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations, challenging its nine-dash line claim over the disputed sea.

Beijing had refused to participate in the proceedings and insisted that they have indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea. Meanwhile, Manila announced that it will abide by the ruling of the international tribunal, citing that it is binding on parties.

"The arbitration process is in line with the international rules-based principles that should guide the way forward among parties to manage and resolve the disputes in the South China Sea peacefully," the DFA statement read.

The DFA added that the latest G7 joint statement highlights the importance of ensuring the full and effective implementation of the DOC in the disputed sea, as well as the need for all parties to come up with a binding Code of Conduct. The DOC is a non-binding agreement committing to restraint in the contested waters signed by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China in 2002.

On the other hand, China expressed its dissatisfaction over the G7 statement and called on its member nations to "stop making irresponsible remarks and all irresponsible actions."

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