Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Aquino to push for diplomatic solution to West Philippine Sea issue during 21st ASEAN Summit

From the Philippine  News Agency (Nov 14): Aquino to push for diplomatic solution to West Philippine Sea issue during 21st ASEAN Summit

President Benigno S. Aquino III will push for the peaceful resolution in the West Philippine Sea, hoping that leadership change in China will enhance cooperation with the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The President will leave for Cambodia Saturday to attend the 21st ASEAN Summit and other related summits, which China and the United States will also attend. Raul Hernandez, the spokesman of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, told a media briefing in Malacanang the President may raise the West Philippine Sea issue when he attends the plenary and retreat sessions with other leaders Sunday. “The West Philippine Sea or the maritime security and cooperation is one of our advocacies and it will be in this context will we push the discussion of this issue,” Hernandez said. While the leadership change is a domestic activity in China, Hernandez said the Philippines hopes that with the change, there would be a positive development in the relationship between ASEAN and China as well as between China and the Philippines. “That’s why we are also expecting that with the developments there, there would be an onward development as far as marine security and cooperation is concerned,” he said. With regard to the discussions over the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, Hernandez said it would be one of the topics for discussion with China in the ASEAN-China Summit. The initial ASEAN agreement, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea, will reach its 10th year this year, the foreign affairs official said. Hernandez added that after the discussions, they expect China will commit on starting the negotiation on the Code of Conduct for the good and stability and the peace in the region.... Foreign ministers failed to agree on a joint communiqu√© on this the issue several months ago, raising perceptions about rifts in the relationships among the ASEAN-member countries.

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