US lauds PH move to seek arbitration in sea row with China

Posted at Feb 23 2013 03:08 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2013 11:09 PM

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MANILA, Philippines -- A visiting senior US State Department official has commended the Philippines' move to bring the maritime dispute with China before a United Nations (UN)-endorsed tribunal.

Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez said seeking arbitration should allow the maritime claims to be settled "peacefully".

"The US does not have territorial ambitions with respect to the South China Sea but we do insist that both countries respect international law and we work diplomatically to resolve issues peacefully... One of them is the arbitration filed by the Philippines and it's an interesting development," Fernandez told ANC.

"When people arbitrate, that means people are not fighting. They're trying to resolve issues by peaceful means... Cool minds should prevail," he added.

The Philippines brought the dispute just last month before the arbitral tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

ANC Dateline Philippines, February 23, 2013