Kerry supports PH move on South China Sea
MANILA, Philippines - New US Secretary of State John Kerry supports the Philippines' decision to take to international arbitration its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Thursday, February 14.
During a telephone conversation last night, Kerry gave his support for the efforts of the Philippines to resolve the conflicting claims through the rule of law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Del Rosario explained in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“I discussed with Secretary Kerry our initiative of bringing the West Philippine Sea issue to arbitration under UNCLOS. I emphasized the importance of this initiative to the future stability of our region in particular and to the future efficacy of international law in general,” he added.
The Philippines' top diplomat also recalled that Kerry already pushed for a peaceful resolution of the dispute when he was a Senator.
“Secretary Kerry was a moving force behind a Senate resolution on the peaceful settlement of disputes in the West Philippine Sea,” the DFA chief said.
Both countries also agreed on working together to build stronger relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States.
In particular, Del Rosario mentioned the US offer to train ASEAN seafarers, an initiative in which the Philippines can take a lead on.
The global shipping industry, which carries 80% of international trade, employs about 1.2 million seafarers, the bulk of whom are Filipinos. - with reports from Carlos Santamaria/Rappler.com