THE Philippines on Monday criticized Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for suggesting that the Philippines instigated the tension in the South China Sea when it is Beijing which has disregarded international law and openly flaunts that it is above the law of nations.
“We have had countless meetings with China to try to address the issue between the two of us to no avail,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, referring to more than 50 bilateral discussions Manila had with Beijing on the matter of the South China Sea.
“We have invited China many times to join us in arbitration as early as 2012, again to no avail,” the DFA added.
“As we presume to be responsible states, the Philippines, as well as the international community, are asking China to respect the forthcoming ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal and together advance an international rules-based regime,” the DFA said.
“If China does not heed our collective call, does it mean that China considers itself above the law?” the statement added.
The DFA issued the statement after Wang accused the Philippines of “political provocation” in a press briefing in Washington D.C. last week.
Wang claimed that the Philippines reneged on the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea between China and Southeast Asian nations, but the DFA said it was Beijing who refused to pursue substantive talks on a binding code of conduct.
Wang also claimed the Philippines violated the stipulation of Article 4 of DOC and gave up on dialogue and negotiations with the direct concerned parties of China when Beijing refused to talk about their activities in Scarborough Shoal more than 50 times.
Consequently, the Philippines filed an arbitration case before The Netherland-based tribunal court and the decision is expected to be released early this year. Still, China refused to participate in the proceedings, the DFA said.
The Philippines has been praised by nations around the world, because it is the first country to have dared (under Art. 287 and Annex VII of UNCLOS) to take China to the court.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa formally signed on Monday an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology.
The agreement, the first country with which Tokyo concluded such an agreement, will provide a framework for Japan to transfer defense equipment and technology to the Philippines.
The defense equipment cooperation with Japan would not only reinforce robust ties between the two countries but would also contribute in enhancing defense capabilities of the AFP needed to address Philippine security concerns and to contribute to regional peace and stability.
In line with Japan’s security policy of making a proactive contribution to international peace and stability is Tokyo’s readiness to transfer defense equipment to its neighbors to develop their respective defense capabilities.
This dovetails with the Philippine thrust to have access to equipment and technology from its partner countries, the DND said in a statement.
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