Duterte calls on parties to abide by UNCLOS amid ‘alarming incidents’ in SCS

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President Rodrigo Duterte, during the virtual 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, has called on parties to abide by international laws amid “alarming incidents” in the South China Sea.

“Even as our region struggles to contain COVID-19, alarming incidents in the South China Sea occurred. We call on parties to refrain from escalating tensions and abide by responsibilities under international law, notably the 1982 UNCLOS,” President Duterte said.

“We urge all parties to adhere to the rule of law and to their commitments to international instruments, including the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” he added.

President Duterte said that as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, we face real constraints in dealing with our deliverables.

“We must not lose sight of strategic interests in the [South] China Sea. We must find innovative ways and exercise flexibility to achieve our common goals. We remain committed to work closely with Member States and China towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea,” he explained.

“ASEAN solidarity and collective action have never been more critical than today. We thank Viet Nam for its committed leadership of ASEAN under difficult times,” he added.

“Rest assured that the Philippines will continue working with ASEAN to realize our shared aspiration for a peaceful, prosperous, and secure future for our peoples,” President Duterte said.