The Philippines’ position to settle the disputes in the West Philippine Sea through peaceful means is proof of its commitment to the Charter of the United Nations, Deputy Permanent Representative Irene Susan Natividad told a UN forum convened by China, with whom the country has locked horns over a contested territory.
Speaking at the Security Council Open Debate on the theme, “Maintaining International Peace and Security: Reflect on History, Reaffirm the Strong Commitment to the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations”, Natividad said that the Philippines reaffirmed its strong commitment to promote global peace and security by resolving conflicts at home and in the region.
Among those who attended the debate was China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“The Philippines believes that the promotion of global peace primarily starts at home. The international community has witnessed our unwavering commitment and tireless efforts to bring and build peace in Southern Philippines, we are facing an equally challenging task of resolving tensions in our regional seas, Natividad said.
“The Philippines has resorted to the rule of law in trying to resolve these tensions and believes that the core instrument for resolving maritime disputes is the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the DFA quoted Natividad as saying.
She said the Philippines has apprised the international community of its position on and developments in the peaceful settlement of disputes in the West Philippine Sea as it is an issue of global concern.
“The Philippines has resorted to arbitration to clarify maritime entitlements and settle maritime disputes peacefully through UNCLOS. Arbitration is fully entrenched in Chapter VI, Article 33 of the UN Charter on the pacific settlement of disputes,” she said.
Natividad also reiterated the Philippines’ strong call for a stop to all reclamation activities in the disputed areas and the acceleration of talks on a legally-binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
“Massive reclamation is a direct threat to the Philippines and other claimant States and should be considered a great concern for all States as it threatens the security and overall peace and stability in the region. Moreover, the massive reclamation that is causing widespread destruction of the region’s biodiversity will also irreparably damage the entire ecological balance in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. Such irreversible damage will have long-term effects on all the peoples across geopolitical boundaries who have depended on the sea for their livelihood for generations,” she said.
She said that it is equally incumbent upon the international community to ensure the safety of those “who have been peacefully, sustainably, and legitimately pursuing their livelihood” in the contested areas.
“Those whose actions endanger the lives of these people and those who do not heed the call for restraint are not being true to the cause of peace,” Natividad said.
The Open Debate is one of the many meetings and events planned for 2015 when the UN celebrates the 70th year of its establishment.