‘Wag magpadala sa init ng ulo: Duterte urges self-restraint in South China Sea row
By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday urged China and other South China Sea terroritorial claimants to exercise “self-restraint” and refrain from actions that will escalate tensions in the contested region.
Duterte made this remark during the 21st ASEAN-China Summit in Singapore.
Countries contesting its waters should “pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS,” said the chief executive.
In his message, Duterte said ASEAN, comprised of 10 member countries, and China are committed to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, and support the “expeditious” conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
The COC is a legally binding agreement that aims to manage and resolve the territorial conflicts in the South China Sea.
“ASEAN and China have seen steady progress in the initial phase of the COC negotiations since the announcement of a Single Draft COC Negotiating Text, and looked forward to the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text by 2019,” Duterte said.
“ASEAN and China will continue to maintain a conducive environment for future rounds of negotiations of the COC,” said the co-chair of the COC negotiations.
Duterte also announced the completion of the inaugural joint maritime exercise between ASEAN and China, which was conducted from October 22 to 29, 2018.
The naval drill, he said, “is a useful confidence-building measure that strengthens practical cooperation, and builds mutual trust, friendship, and understanding amongst ASEAN and Chinese navies.”