PH highlights TAP over territorial dispute

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Saturday, August 9, 2014


MANILA - The Philippine government rallied Friday its Southeast Asian neighbors to consider adopting the former’s Triple Action Plan (TAP) proposal to address the growing tension over the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said there is a need to take immediate action if they are to arrest the threats of instability in the region.

“Tensions in the South China Sea have worsened in the past few months and continue to deteriorate. All of us are seeing an increased pattern of aggressive behavior and provocative actions in the South China Sea, seriously threatening the peace, security, prosperity and stability in the region,” said del Rosario.

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Del Rosario was speaking at the 47th Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

Under the Philippines’ TAP proposal, del Rosario stressed that there will be immediate, intermediate and final approaches on how to handle “provocative and destabilizing activities in the region” but is “without prejudice to existing territorial claims.”

On an immediate basis, Asean is urged to call for a cessation of activities that escalate tension, pursuant to Article 5 of the Asean-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

As for the intermediate basis, the Asean and China are called to continue urgently working for a full and effective implementation of the DOC and the expeditious conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) in order to manage further tension.

And as final basis, the Philippines said there will be a clarification of entitlements to bring the disputes to a final and enduring resolution in accordance with international law, particularly UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), through arbitration.

Based on the statement released by the DFA, the Asean Foreign Ministers, in turn, acknowledged the urgent need to address the tensions in the South China Sea in a manner that is peaceful and constructive, consistent with the DOC, and in accordance with international law.

Aside from the Philippines, also having differing claims to the South China Sea are fellow Asean members Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei as well as China, and Taiwan. (HDT/Sunnex)

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