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Philippines rejects advice on South China Sea row

14 August 2017
Philippines rejects advice on South China Sea row

Prak Sokhonn said Wednesday that the adoption of a framework for the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea is a very positive step for the ASEAN-China relations.

The Philippines criticized the United States, Japan, and Australia for releasing a joint statement that urged both Manila and Beijing to heed a 2016 worldwide ruling on the South China Sea. "I think we achieved everything we set up to achieve in this meeting given the expectations", Cayetano said.

Sokhonn attempted to equate the drafting of joint statements to making soup, where he said each country would like to add their own "ingredients" but that in the end the soup had to be palatable to all ASEAN member states.

During the meetings, FM Minh emphasized Vietnam's policy of deepening ties with the countries and partners on an equal and mutually-benefiting footing with a focus on people's interest and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world, according to Deputy FM Dung.

The Philippine foreign secretary was reacting to a joint statement issued by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Monday, August 7.

It was the foreign ministers of the United States, Japan, and Australia who, in their own joint communiqué, criticized "land reclamation, construction of outposts, militarization of disputed features" - all referring to China's recent activities in the South China Sea that have been protested by other claimant nations and challenged by the U.S. as a threat to freedom of navigation.

The South China Morning Post has followed up with story citing two reasons why Vietnam is especially sensitive to China's claims to territory in the South China Sea - it has both land and sea borders with China, and as a geographically narrow coastal country, is vulnerable to maritime attack.

It could be recalled that the issue on China's land reclamation and militarization in the South China Sea had been omitted on Asean leaders' joint statement released in May.

"We respect their views", Cayetano said.

This has also been the position taken by the Philippines under President Duterte, chairman of ASEAN on its 50th anniversary this year.