PH to pursue moratorium on provocative acts in sea row

By Pia Lee-Brago, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 28 2014 10:04 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2014 06:05 PM

MANILA - The Philippines is determined to get all concerned countries in Southeast Asia to agree on a moratorium on provocative and destabilizing actions in the South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said last week.

The DFA said the proposed moratorium should be pursued while concerned countries work on the expeditious conclusion of a legally binding Code of Conduct (COC) in the disputed waters.

In June, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said initiating talks for a moratorium in terms of activities that escalate tension in the South China Sea is a reasonable approach.

Del Rosario said the talks would be done with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other claimants of the South China Sea.

The moratorium could also be brought up in a special ASEAN ministerial meeting proposed by Indonesia.

Del Rosario expressed optimism that the dialogues on the proposed moratorium could be started within the year.

The DFA cited the signing of the Philippines-Indonesia Agreement Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Boundary on May 22, which attests to the friendship, patience, goodwill and commitment of the governments of the Philippines and Indonesia to peacefully address maritime issues.

The signing of the agreement is a significant contribution to, and an example of, reasonable efforts to build a stable and peaceful regional community, in consideration of the interests of countries concerned and in accordance with international law.

In its Pre-SONA (State of the Nation Address) report, the DFA stated that for the remainder of President Aquino’s term, the DFA will continue its mandate to preserve and enhance our national security, work towards inclusive growth and development and safeguard the welfare and interests of our people abroad, while upholding the values of good governance.