Philippines looks forward to UK, US support on sea row-A A +A
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
THE Philippines is looking forward to any statement of support from the governments of the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States when President Benigno Aquino III meets the leaders of these countries this week, a Malacanang spokesman said Wednesday.
President Aquino has embarked a seven-day trip to the UK and the US.
Prior to his departure, he said that he expects to discuss the West Philippine Sea issue with US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"From the Philippine side, we will definitely welcome the statement of support," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
"And I am sure that the statement will echo the interests of both nations that they are interested and support the freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea," he added.
Asked whether the Palace believes that any statement of support from both the UK and the US could be a counterbalance against China, he said, "I think that Secretary Hillary Clinton and Secretary Leon Panetta in the ratification hearing of the Unclos before the Senate have mentioned and supported our position there, and that has been the position of the US government."
The UK, one of the Philippines' largest European trading partner, has also expressed its interest in maintaining the freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea, he added.
Lacierda also noted that the international community recognizes the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). Both China and the Philippines are signatories to the Unclos.
President Aquino left Monday for a three-day official visit to the UK.
While in London, he met with the members of the Filipino community and updated them with the positive developments in the Philippines.
The President told Filipinos the about 6.4 percent economic growth of the country in the first quarter of this year.
The President also noted infrastructure developments, including the construction of classrooms and housing units for the military and police authorities. He also cited the proposed NLEx-SLEx connector road projects.
President Aquino also relayed the improved rice production and the government's conditional cash transfer program, as well as the stock market's remarkable performance under his watch.
Besides the good news, he also mentioned the anomalies and irregularities the Aquino administration has uncovered from the previous administration including the pre-fabricated bridges worth billions of pesos.
The President also reported the recent removal of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, saying his ouster would fix the country's justice system.
After his trip to UK, Aquino will fly to the US to meet with President Obama in Washington. He is also scheduled to meet American businessmen and the Filipino community in California including American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez.
Aquino is expected to return to the country on June 10. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)