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Code of Conduct Key to Lasting Stability in the Region

May 24, 2011

SENATOR LEGARDA, CHAIR OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, WELCOMED THE REPORTED AFFIRMATION OF COMMITMENT BY CHINESE DEFENSE MINISTER LIANG GUANGLIE TO PEACEFUL DIALOGUE IN RESOLVING THE SOUTH CHINA SEA ISSUE.
“Such positive gesture is vital to keeping peace and stability in the region and constitutes good will and positive effort that is in conformity to the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea which the Philippines signed together with China and ASEAN member countries in 2002,” Legarda said.
Through the DOC, the parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force. Friendly consultations and negotiations by concerned parties are also espoused by the DOC, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“It is to the region’s and the international community’s collective interest that the Parties remain committed to exploring ways for building trust and confidence on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Certainly, the reported commitment to avoid ‘unilateral actions that would cause alarm’, as expressed by Minister Liang during his visit, is a positive development that reinforces the principles of the DOC. Now it is time to take bigger steps by progressing work on a definitive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. This will bring us closer to lasting peace and stability in the region,” Legarda added.
The South China Sea region is the world’s second busiest international sea lane. Over half of the world’s supertanker traffic passes through the region’s waters.