MANILA—The government expressed gratitude to the member-states of the Group of 7 for upholding the implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Award on the South China Sea arbitration.
In a statement released Monday, Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines will continue to uphold its rights in the South China Sea.
"UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award are the twin anchors of Philippine positions and activities in the South China Sea. We will not raise anchor and drift or sail away from them. We value your support," Locsin said during the inaugural G7-ASEAN Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Tensions between the Philippines and China over the hotly contested waters have risen late November after Chinese coast-guard ships water-cannoned Filipino boats trying to deliver supplies to personnel at the BRP Sierra Madre.
The 2016 ruling by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China's expansive claims in the South China Sea, but Beijing continues to disregard it.
Some foreign governments have asked relevant parties to adhere to the UNCLOS and the arbitral award on the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, Locsin also expressed the Philippines' support for the strengthening of the ASEAN-G7 partnership, welcoming initiatives towards the advancement of the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
"There is great potential in synergizing the G7 members’ Indo-Pacific strategies and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. They have common objectives," he said.
The G7 is composed of the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy, while the European Union usually attends its high-level meetings.
This year, Australia, India, the Republic of Korea, and the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were also invited to attend the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting.
FROM THE ARCHIVES