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Aquino remains hopeful that territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea will be resolved amicably

Posted On 2012 Oct 18
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President Benigno S. Aquino III answers questions directed to him during the open forum in connection with the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at the Centennial Ballroom, of the Manila Hotel in Manila City on Wednesday (October 17, 2012). FOCAP is one of the country’s most prestigious and respected media organization. It was founded in 1974 to safeguard press freedom during the Martial Law years under then, President Ferdinand Marcos. It consists of international agencies, publications, radio and TV networks. The forum is a traditional annual event where the President discusses key policies and answers questions on foreign affairs, politics, the economy and social issues from the foreign media. Also in photo is Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Oct 17 (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III remains hopeful that the territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) will be resolved with all parties concerned amicably.

The President told members of the Foreign Correspondents of the Philippines (FOCAP) during their annual Presidential Forum held at the Centennial Ballroom of the Manila Hotel on Wednesday that he hoped a solution that would address multilateral concerns would soon be reached.

“We are still hoping that we will resolve this amicably; that reasonable voices will prevail; and that both sides are really geared towards arriving at a solution that will satisfy not just the bilateral concerns but more importantly I guess the multilateral concerns affecting this issue,” the President said.

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at the Centennial Ballroom, of the Manila Hotel, in Manila on Wednesday (October 17, 2012). FOCAP is one of the country’s most prestigious and respected media organization. It was founded in 1974 to safeguard press freedom during the Martial Law years under then, President Ferdinand Marcos. It consists of international agencies, publications, radio and TV networks. The forum is a traditional annual event where the President discusses key policies and answers questions on foreign affairs, politics, the economy and social issues from the foreign media. Also in photo are Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Jr., FOCAP president Keiichi Tanaka and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. (MNS photo)

Aside from the Philippines, six other countries: China, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia are claiming the contested area as theirs.

The President said that legal experts on international law were studying “how to advance our claims” on the West Philippine Sea through the International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea (ITLOS), an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. It is composed of 21 independent members, elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the field of the law of the sea.

“In terms of ITLOS, it is still being studied by our consultants. There are several law firms that we are consulting, conversant and very well thought of and experts in international law, to precisely chart the course of how we will utilize the legal procedures in international law to advance our claims,” the President said.(MNS)

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