Duterte reiterates need for legally binding code of conduct in South China Sea

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2017 09:17 PM

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha welcomes Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (R) at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand March 21, 2017. Jorge Silva, Reuters

The Philippines and Thailand on Tuesday called on the country’s neighbors to respect freedom of navigation and over-flight in disputed waters.

“Respect for freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea is in the interest of all countries within and outside the region,” President Duterte said in a joint statement with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Duterte also expressed determination for the framework of the legally binding code to be completed and fully implemented in 2017, which was proposed to be fast-tracked by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last year. China also agreed that it should be fast-tracked. 

The framework was set to be completed by mid-2017.

“Thailand believes that in order to benefit the region and its people, the ultimate goal should be for the South China Sea to be a ‘Sea of Peace, Stability and Sustainable Development’. The Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to continue working with Thailand and all parties concerned in enhancing maritime cooperation and preserving peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the 2 countries said in a joint press statement.

The Philippines is set to file a strong protest against China’s construction of an environmental monitoring station, or radar station, on Panatag Shoal.