EU calls for peaceful means in resolving South China Sea dispute
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - July 18, 2016 - 10:12am

MANILA, Philippines — The European Union (EU) called on the Philippines and China to resolve the South China Sea dispute through peaceful means following the ruling of an arbitral tribunal.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration recently ruled that China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea does not have legal basis.

In a statement released on Friday, the EU and its member states acknowledged the award rendered by the arbitral tribunal as contracting parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"The EU recalls that the dispute settlement mechanisms as provided under UNCLOS contribute to the maintenance and furthering of the international order based upon the Rule of Law and are essential to settle disputes," the union said in the statement.

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The EU also noted that it underlines the fundamental importance of upholding freedoms of navigation and overflight as established in the UNCLOS.

The union expressed its support for the conclusion of talks leading to a Code of Conduct between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China which would implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

"As a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and as a High Contracting Party to the 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South East Asia, the EU also wishes to 'foster cooperation in the furtherance of the cause of peace, harmony, and stability in the region," the statement read.

The EU also called on all concerned parties to address remaining issues through other peaceful means and avoid activities that would further raise tensions in the region.

"The EU therefore stands ready to facilitate activities which help to build confidence between the parties concerned," the union said.

Asian and European leaders stressed the importance of freedom of navigation in disputed waters during the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting in Ulan Bator, Mongolia on Saturday.

The leaders, however, did not specifically mention the South China Sea in the statement that they released at the end of the summit.

RELATED: Phl raises sea ruling at ASEM

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