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PHL supports Brunei’s advocacy on maritime management, regional stability

Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pagasa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines Wednesday July 20,  2011. China protested a trip made by Filipino lawmakers to disputed areas in the South China Sea to assert the claim of the Philippines. Ethan Sun, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Manila, said the trip scheduled was 'against the spirit' of a code of conduct signed by claimants to the areas in 2002. The Spratlys, believed to be rich in oil, mineral and marine resources, are also claimed in whole or partly by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.  (AP Photo/Roley Dela Pena, Pool)

Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pagasa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines Wednesday July 20, 2011. China protested a trip made by Filipino lawmakers to disputed areas in the South China Sea to assert the claim of the Philippines. Ethan Sun, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Manila, said the trip scheduled was ‘against the spirit’ of a code of conduct signed by claimants to the areas in 2002. The Spratlys, believed to be rich in oil, mineral and marine resources, are also claimed in whole or partly by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. (AP Photo/Roley Dela Pena, Pool)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippines will remain supportive of Brunei’s advocacy for effective management of maritime issues as well as peace and stability in the region, a foreign affairs official said on Wednesday.

“In the ASEAN Summit, one of the priorities of Brunei is the maintenance or the management of maritime issues, and we support that priority that the chairman has laid forward,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

Hernandez briefed reporters on the upcoming 23rd ASEAN Summit to be held in Brunei next week.

“Maritime security and the rule of law is an important aspect in the discussions regarding regional peace and security and, therefore, that’s part of the advocacy and priority of Brunei, and we will be supporting that,” he said.

During the summit, Hernandez said the Philippines will maintain its position for the expeditious conclusion of the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea and the resolution of the dispute through the arbitral tribunal.

Asked if the President will be meeting China’s leader to discuss the West Philippine Sea issue, Hernandez said there is no plan for such meeting because the issue is currently being addressed in a different fora.

For instance, the COC is being tackled at the ASEAN meetings, and the issue on the resolution of territorial dispute is being addressed in the arbitral tribunal, the foreign affairs official said.

“And the two countries and the two presidents, in fact, have agreed that bilateral cooperation between the two countries should continue and enhance these aspects on bilateral relations further,” he said.

Although both the Philippines and China have differences on some issues of concern, Hernandez said the Philippines remains committed to enhancing its bilateral relations with China.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is attending the 23rd ASEAN Summit in Brunei from October 9 and 10.  (MNS)

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