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PHL, Vietnam call for peaceful resolution of South China Sea disputes

The Philippines and Vietnam have called for a peaceful way to resolve disputes in the South China Sea.

In a joint statement, President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang reaffirmed their commitment to maintain and promote peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight as well as unimpeded commerce in the region. 

"The two leaders called for the peaceful resolution of disputes including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, self-restraint in the conduct of activities, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," the statement said. 

"The two Presidents also reaffirmed their support for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and work expeditiously for the early adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea as well as their position on the Award by the Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration," it also stated. 

The Philippines and Vietnam, which are both claimants to some parts of the South China Sea, agreed to implement the cooperation mechanism and commitments to further promote maritime and oceanic cooperation, especially the Joint Commission on Maritime and Oceanic Affairs at Deputy Foreign Minister level and Legal Expert Working Group on Maritime Cooperation. 

Both concurred to strengthen the hotline communication mechanism between coast guard authorities of both countries as well as other existing maritime cooperation mechanisms.

The leaders also agreed to adopt other measures to ensure the safety and security of fishermen from both countries, as well as to solve amicably the unexpected incidents at sea. 

Duterte and Quang also said they will continue the cooperation on fisheries as proposed at the Joint Working Group and implement the memorandum of understanding on Fisheries Cooperation signed in 2010. They also considered signing the Mutual Recognition Agreement on quality control and management and safety of agricultural and fishery products as well as the Memorandum of Understanding on Education Cooperation. — Trisha Macas/RSJ, GMA News