Germany reiterates support for peaceful resolution of sea row
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - March 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Germany reiterated yesterday its support for a peaceful and rules-based approach to settling maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Visiting German minister of state Maria Boehmer voiced her country’s position on the issue during a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario yesterday.

Former German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle raised the same position during a visit to the Philippines in February 2013.

The Philippines is contesting China’s expansive territorial claim in the West Philippine Sea by invoking international laws like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Manila is seeking international arbitration to defend its position and force Beijing to abandon its claim and withdraw its forces from islets and shoals within Philippine  territory.

Beijing has rejected Manila’s initiatives, insisting it wants only bilateral negotiations.

Boehmer ends her three-day visit today. This is her first visit to the Philippines. 

The visit comes as the Philippines and Germany are preparing to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations and as the Philippine government signed the landmark Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Boehmer witnessed yesterday’s signing of the CAB.

Germany has supported the peace process through development assistance.

In their meeting, Del Rosario and Boehmer noted with satisfaction the strong bilateral political and economic relations between the Philippines and Germany.  

Germany is the Philippines’ eighth top trading partner in the world and top among European countries with $4.5 billion (P203 billion) in total trade in 2013.

The two officials also reaffirmed their mutual commitment to bilateral engagement and cooperation not only in the political field but also in key areas such as labor, people-to-people exchanges, investments, and maritime sector.

Germany controls more than 40 percent of the world market in container shipping, over half of which is manned by Filipino seafarers.

Germany has been supportive of the Philippines’ efforts to comply with the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention.

 

BEIJING BOEHMER COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT DEL ROSARIO AND BOEHMER FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT FORMER GERMAN GERMANY GUIDO WESTERWELLE LAW OF THE SEA PHILIPPINES AND GERMANY WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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