US reiterates calls on China to abide by 2016 arbitral ruling


MANILA, Philippines — Washington's top diplomat reiterated calls on Beijing to comply with the July 2016 arbitral ruling pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The landmark ruling invalidated China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. discussed this in a meeting on Friday (Manila time).

US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said Blinken "underscored the importance of freedom of navigation and respect for international law in the South China Sea."

"And of course the Philippines is a strong supporter of the rules-based international order, including the freedom of navigation, and we'll certainly be talking about that," Blinken said during Locsin's visit.

Five years after the arbitral award, Beijing continues to reject the ruling and claims "indisputable sovereignty" over the South China Sea.

Locsin and Blinken also talked about COVID-19, economic engagement and human rights, according to Price.

The two top diplomats reaffirmed the importance of the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and the United States, Price said.

Manila and Washington recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of their alliance, as well as the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

In July, President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his order to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the country's long-term ally and former colonizer.

This pronouncement came after a meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.





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