Senior Philippine foreign affairs and defense officials and their counterparts from the
have reiterated that the maritime dispute in the South
China Sea must be resolved through international arbitration.
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday that the officials of the two countries made the statement following their fifth Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held in
on January 20 to 21. Manila
“The two countries expressed concern over developments in the South China Sea that are inconsistent with the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and international law, and emphasized the importance of upholding peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and freedom of navigation and over flight,” Coloma said, reading the joint statement.
“The two sides reiterated that international disputes in the
South China Sea should be settled in
accordance with international law, and through diplomatic and other peaceful
means, including the use of international arbitration,” he added.
On March 30 last year, the
filed a memorial before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea
(ITLOS) against . China
Philippine officials on Wednesday accused
expanding its reclamation work in the disputed territory, describing it as
Present during the dialogue were Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Evan P. Garcia and National Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo F. Batino for the
and Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel and Assistant Secretary of
Defense David Shear for the . US
Meanwhile, asked if the dialogue discussed the status of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which is pending at the Supreme Court, Coloma said both sides have acknowledged that there are legal questions that are now being addressed at the Supreme Court.
Former senators Wigberto Tañada and Rene Saguisag filed a petition at the Supreme Court in May last year, questioning the validity of the EDCA.
The petitioners argued that the agreement is unconstitutional and violates several provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
The EDCA was signed in April last year, shortly before US President Barrack Obama arrived in
for a visit. Manila