Issues With the Spratly Islands – Philippines had sent it’s biggest battleships to the Spratly group of islands as part of its patrolling over the territorial waters belonging to the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone. China on its part had also sent one of it’s biggest civilian ships on the disputed areas in the South China Sea.
A vintage destroyer escort, BRP Rajah Humabon will patrol the Philippines territorial waters around Scarborough Shoals. The destroyer was the largest battleship of the Philippine Navy. It served numerous combat engagements during World War II in the Pacific and in the South China Sea.
MALACANANG PUSH RULE OF LAW IN WEST PHILIPPINE SEA (SOUTH CHINA SEA)
In a statement delivered by Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs Secretariat (CMOAS) Secretary General Henry Bensurto, he noted that “recent developments in the Recto bank have tended to broaden the concept of disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea to include even those waters and continental shelves that are clearly within the sovereignty and/or jurisdiction of the Philippines.”
“The Philippines firmly rejects any efforts in this regard. Such actions are inconsistent with UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Secretary General Bensurto stressed during his statement.
Underlining the Philippines’ commitment to international law and the rule of law, specifically UNCLOS, which is considered the world’s constitution on oceans, he said that “We expect nothing less from our international partners.”
Underscoring the primacy of international law, particularly the UNCLOS, CMOAS Secretary General Bensurto stated, “In situations where disputes on maritime claims exist, UNCLOS provides clues as well as answers by which such maritime disputes could be addressed.”
The CMOAS Secretary General also urged all parties to the ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea to faithfully abide by the Declaration provisions, including paragraph 5, which mandates parties to “exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”
“The Declaration of Conduct expresses in a concrete way our collective goal for rules-based action by all concerned parties,” he added.
During the meeting, the need for maintaining peace and security in the West Philippine Sea and the primacy of the UNCLOS was also echoed by Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and Singapore in their respective national statements.
These nations also called for the peaceful resolution of disputes as enshrined in the UNCLOS.
Issues With the Spratly Islands