Duterte renews calls for Asean unity over SCS

President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call on his fellow Asean leaders to stay united in pursuing peace, stability, and prosperity in the South China Sea, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 arbitral award that invalidated China's massive claims over the disputed waters.

Duterte renews calls for Asean unity over SCS
This handout photo released by the host broadcast, ASEAN Summit 2021, on October 27, 2021 shows World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (center) taking part in the ASEAN-East Asia Summit on the sidelines of the 2021 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, held online on a live video conference in Brunei's capital Bandar Seri Begawan. AFP
“We have come a long way in keeping the peace and promoting prosperity in our region. We must not allow those with diverging interests to make our efforts fail,” Duterte said as he attended the 38th and 39th Asean Summits and Related Summits via video conference.

The UNCLOS and the 2016 arbitral award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration favored the Philippines' over China's claims in the South China Sea.

During his intervention at the 24th Asean-China Summit, Duterte urged countries to translate their commitments into action regarding the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in the midst of the evolving geopolitical situation in Asia.

“Talks should not remain empty rhetoric. They should be translated into action to fortify the trust and confidence we have cultivated through the years. Acta non verba. Deeds, not words,” the President said.

As claimants craft a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, the President lauded the Philippines’ contribution to the substantive progress in the second reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text, as the country reaffirms its commitment to the conclusion of an effective and substantive COC.

Also during his intervention, Duterte pointed out that a dynamic ASEAN-China cooperation put both sides in a formidable position to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, address climate change and manage geopolitical issues.

He thanked China for supporting Asean’s pandemic response, particularly by making life-saving vaccines global public goods.

Asean’s road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be long and difficult as the region reels from the impact of the contagion, the President said.

He emphasized the need for a phased and comprehensive implementation of the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework and called for the immediate establishment of the Asean Center on Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , South China Sea
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