Palace to China: Philippines not ‘politically arrogant’
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday dismissed remarks by China that the Philippines is “politically arrogant” with its perceived pressure on the International Arbitral Tribunal to rule in its favor over Manila’s maritime dispute with Beijing in the West Philippine Sea.

Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. recalled that in mid-February, leaders belonging to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus others (who joined the ASEAN summit hosted by the US) expressed concern over the issue.

Among the salient points raised in the ASEAN summit conclusion were that all heads of state and government agreed to “share a commitment to maintain peace, security and stability in the region, ensuring maritime security and safety.”

This includes “rights of freedom of navigation and over-flight and other lawful uses of the seas, and unimpeded lawful maritime commerce as described in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of activities.”

In his briefing to reporters last February at the Rancho Mirage in California, Coloma said, “In their discussions, the leaders expressed collective concern over continued militarization in the South China Sea, which they recognized as a core issue in (the) region.”  

Coloma clarified that the case filed by the Department of Foreign Affairs is not for the purpose of provoking China, but a peaceful and rules-based approach in resolving the maritime territory dispute. This mechanism, he added, should include all the other claimant-nations.

He cited the recent G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, where ministers from Britain, Canada, France, US, Germany, Italy and Japan opposed the “intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo.”

While noting “increased tensions” in the West Philippine Sea, the ministers also stressed the need for “peaceful management and settlement of maritime disputes through applicable internationally recognized legal dispute settlement mechanisms, including arbitration.”

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