GMA News Online

Australia urges UN Law of the Sea approach to South China Sea claims

May 13, 2012 4:42pm
Australia has weighed in on the month-long standoff at Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) by urging nations with claims to the disputed island territories in the South China Sea to refer to international conventions and law for resolution.
"We don't take a side on the various claims over the South China Sea. But we do, given our interest in the South China Sea, and given the fact that a large proportion of our trade travels through it, we do call on governments to clarify and pursue those claims and accompanying maritime rights in accordance with international law including the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention,"” Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said on Saturday as he met Shanghai officials.
Carr will travel on a new high speed train from Shanghai to Beijing on Sunday and hold meetings with Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi and other Chinese officials.
Sunday morning, Malacañang reaffirmed its commitment to a diplomatic solution and said it took on face value China’s word on not bracing for war in the region.
“We have always taken the commitment of our friends in China to be that both sides have committed to taking the diplomatic solution to all of this,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on government-run dzRB radio.
She added that the Philippines will continue peaceful engagement with China as both sides resumed consultations.
China on Friday accused the Philippines of escalating an already tense territorial dispute over islands in the South China Sea following a noisy but peaceful anti-Beijing protest in Manila.
The islands, believed to be rich in oil and other resources, are claimed wholly or in part by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, and the row is potentially the biggest flashpoint for confrontation in Asia as the U.S. seeks to expand its influence in the region. — with Reuters/ELR, GMA News
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