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Action vs China ‘gaining support’: PHL

Posted On 2014 Aug 06
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In this photo taken Feb. 25, 2014 by surveillance planes and released Thursday, May 15, 2014, by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, a Chinese vessel, top center, is used to expand structures and land on the Johnson Reef, called Mabini by the Philippines and Chigua by China, at the Spratly Islands at South China Sea, Philippines. The Philippines has protested China's reclamation of land in the disputed reef in the South China Sea that can be used to build an airstrip or an offshore military base in the increasingly volatile region, the country's top diplomat and other officials said Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The white arrow was added by the source. (MNS photo)

In this photo taken Feb. 25, 2014 by surveillance planes and released Thursday, May 15, 2014, by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, a Chinese vessel, top center, is used to expand structures and land on the Johnson Reef, called Mabini by the Philippines and Chigua by China, at the Spratly Islands at South China Sea, Philippines. The Philippines has protested China’s reclamation of land in the disputed reef in the South China Sea that can be used to build an airstrip or an offshore military base in the increasingly volatile region, the country’s top diplomat and other officials said Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The white arrow was added by the source. (MNS photo)

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines said Monday it has won support from Vietnam, Indonesia and Brunei for a plan to ease tensions in the South China Sea which it intends to present at a regional meeting this week.

China and several of its Southeast Asian neighbors are embroiled in increasingly bitter territorial disputes over the strategic sea which Beijing claims almost in its entirety.

Manila’s plan calls for an immediate moratorium on activities which escalate tensions and implementation of a code of conduct in the sea, which is home to vital shipping routes and is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits.

The plan, to be presented to an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Myanmar this week, was raised during Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario’s recent visits to Brunei, Vietnam and Indonesia, department spokesman Charles Jose said.

“He has taken trips (to these countries) precisely to raise the triple action plan and so far, all of these countries have expressed support for the initiative,” Jose told reporters.

He said del Rosario and other Filipino delegates would try to raise the initiative at the various ASEAN discussions.

ASEAN includes the Philippines as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam along with non-members China and Taiwan, have conflicting claims to parts or all of the South China Sea.

Tensions have risen in recent years as China has become more aggressive in enforcing its claims. Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in contested waters in May triggered anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam and sent relations plummeting.

Manila’s plan includes a call for implementation of a 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea and will also seek a settlement mechanism anchored on international law to resolve the disputes.

The Myanmar meetings will also involve talks between the ASEAN foreign ministers and counterparts from the bloc’s main regional trading partners – China, Japan and South Korea.

There will also be a regional security dialogue involving 27 countries, including the ASEAN members, China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Russia, and Australia.

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