MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday welcomed the United States’ latest statement on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) issue, saying it showed support for the Philippine’s rules-based approach to resolving disputes.
“We welcome the August 3 statement of the State Department because it supports the Philippines’ rules-based approach to resolving disputes in the West Philippine Sea,” Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesperson, said in a text message.
“The threats to peace and stability, along with the threats to freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce, will negatively impact not only on claimants but many other nations,” he said in a text message.
The State Department on Friday criticized China’s decision to set up a new military garrison in the disputed West Philippine Sea, saying the move risked escalating tensions in the area.
“We are concerned by the increase in tensions in the South China Sea and are monitoring the situation closely,” state department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said in a statement Friday.
“In particular, China’s upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha City and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region,” he said.
The statement also expressed strong support for diplomatic efforts by Southeast Asian nations to negotiate with China.
“We encourage ASEAN and China to make meaningful progress toward finalizing a comprehensive Code of Conduct in order to establish rules of the road and clear procedures for peacefully addressing disagreements. In this context, the United States endorses the recent ASEAN Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea,” the statement said.
China, however, has criticized the US move saying the remarks “sent a seriously wrong message,” and also urged the US to “correct its mistaken ways, and respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Kunsheng called in the US embassy’s deputy chief of Mission Rober Wang on Saturday and asked him to bring Beijing’s message to the “highest level” of US government.
China late last month announced that it had established the new city Sansha and garrison in the disputed Paracel islands, a move that has alarmed the Philippines and Vietnam.
China claims it owns much of the West Philippine Sea, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan all claim portions.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.
Copyright 2012 INQUIRER.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94