DND welcomes ASEAN proposal for Code in West Philippine Sea

July 11, 2012 9:29 pm 

MANILA, July 11 – Defense Department spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez lauded Wednesday the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the Code of Conduct it plans to present to countries with contending claims at the West Philippine Sea.

He also hopes the Code will promote peace and security in the region.

Galvez said the implementation and acceptance of the Code will reduce incidents of intrusions among claimant countries.

The DND spokesperson stressed the Code is a win-win solution for all as it will reduce tension in the disputed region and allow claimant countries to focus on non-traditional threats like human smuggling, piracy, and poaching.

“These goals are part of the region’s collective goal of enhancing maritime cooperation,” Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario earlier said.

But to be effective, the Code must be "credible, binding and enforceable.”

In 2002, ASEAN and China signed a document that calls on all claimants to exercise restraint and stop new occupation in the West Philippine Sea.

However, its non-binding nature and lack of provision to sanction misbehaving claimants renders the accord useless against aggression.

The Philippines has been leading the push for a legally-binding Code to prevent armed conflicts in the disputed waters.

It said it wants to see the inclusion of a dispute settlement mechanism and the segregation of disputed from the non-disputed areas in the accord. (PNA)

hbc/PFN

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