In a text message to GMA News Online, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said China is obligated under international law, specifically the United Nations Charter “to pursue a peaceful resolution of disputes – meaning without the use of force [or] the threat to use forces.”
China’s state media warned on Saturday a (South China Sea).
The overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, said in a front-page commentary that the Philippines had committed “seven sins” in the West Philippine Sea, including the “illegal occupation” of the Spratly Islands, inviting foreign capital to engage in oil and gas development in the disputed waters and promoting the “internationalization” of the waters.
China’s statement comes on the heels of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s confirmation on Thursday of a plan to give the United States and its allies access to military bases in the Philippines.
However, Malcañang on Saturday clarified the plan is not yet final as the Department of National Defense is still studying it to make sure it will be done in accordance with the 1987 Constitution and the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement.
On the other hand, Hernandez called on China “to be a responsible member in the community of nations” and resolve territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea through the “rules-based, transparent, binding and non-provocative” mechanism of the UN Charter.
The DFA spokesperson in particular cited Part XV of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, which provides that “State Parties shall settle any dispute between them” by peaceful means.
“A peaceful and rules-based resolution to the disputes in the West Philippine Sea is durable and beneficial to all and will ensure peace and stability in the region,” Hernandez said.
The People’s Daily commentary is not the first time this week that China issued a statement regarding territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned Thursday that countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea that look for help from third parties will find their efforts “futile” and that confrontation over the area is “doomed.”
Wang’s speech at the Tsinghua World Peace Forum coincided with the start of the US-Philippines naval forces’ military exercises off Luzon’s west coast.
But Philippine Navy has insisted the war games, being held just a few miles away from the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, were not meant to provoke China. — LBG, GMA News