United States of America, Australia, and Japan are calling on Philippines and China to follow the tribunal’s decision on West Philippine Sea initiated by the Philippines.
“The Ministers called on China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal’s 2016 Award in the Philippines-China arbitration, as it is final and legally binding on both parties,” said in the joint statement after the meeting.
They urged claimant countries to respect international laws. “The Ministers noted the significance of the UNCLOS dispute settlement regime and the Tribunal’s decision in discussions among parties in their efforts to peacefully resolve their maritime disputes in the SCS,” said in the statement.
They also voiced their strong opposition to coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions.
The foreign ministers also urged claimants to refrain from land reclamation, construction of outposts, militarization of disputed features, and undertaking unilateral actions that cause permanent physical change to the marine environment in areas pending delimitation.
They also urged ASEAN member states and China to finalize a legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with international law Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC), in a timely manner.