Aquino raises concern on China's air defense zone

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III aired concern on Saturday over China’s recent establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), along with recent claims by Chinese officials that such zones may be replicated.

In his statement at the session of the Asean Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, the President also made a new call for a peaceful and rules-based approach to resolving territorial disputes, including those with China.

"The Philippines' call for peace and stability in our region is amplified by recent developments in the East China Sea, on the establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone, which raises concerns over international civil aviation, safety and security," he said.

"We all should view with greater concern the recent pronouncements of Chinese officials that China will establish other ADIZs in due course," he added.

In the Philippines' case, Aquino said the country is pursuing a two-track approach to disputes in the sea "known-by-many-names."

Such an approach is both peaceful and rules-based, and the Philippines is advocating the conclusion of the legally binding code of conduct as soon as possible, he added.

"To resolve disputes, we are pursuing arbitration. The Philippines views arbitration as an internationally recognized forum for the peaceful settlement of disputes. In addition to clarifying entitlements and the corresponding obligations, arbitration promotes the rule of law and redounds to the benefit of all parties," he said.

He also said that as Japan and Asean move to deepen their partnership, they must keep in mind they can maximize opportunities for growth but only in a "wider regional international community in which all nations adhere to the rule of law and work to promote peace and stability."

"It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to remain committed to the principles of international law and to continue to engage each other in a positive and productive manner as we tread the straight path to mutual prosperity and advancement in the Asia Pacific," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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