German foreign minister says international law should prevail in South China Sea row
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that international law should be followed amid the tension in the South China Sea.
According to a "24 Oras" report by JP Soriano, Baerbock issued the remark following the laser-pointing incident of the Chinese coast guard on a Philippine vessel in the West Philippine Sea last week.
“Your beautiful country finds it's in a region with dangerous political tension that might explode in any given moment, and what that means in practical terms was illustrated recent during an incident involving a Chinese military grade laser," she said in a joint conference with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo at the 2023 Munich Security Council in Germany.
"What might sound like Science fiction to us has quite a different very real meaning for you," the foreign official added.
Baerbock highlighted the importance of the Indo-Pacific region in the 21st century.
“The Indo-Pacific is one, if not the region, in which it will be decided what the international order of the 21st century will look like,” she said.
In response, Manalo said the Philippines will continue to take the track of diplomacy and peaceful dialogue in resolving its disputes.
“The Philippines remains committed to diplomacy and dialogue in resolving our disputes this in spite of recent actions or actions which have been going on for some time, which are inconsistent with the U.N. convention on the law of the sea, and the 2002 Declaration on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea,” Manalo said.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) earlier accused a Chinese coast guard (CCG) vessel of pointing a "military-grade" laser light at one of its vessels supporting a military rotation and resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal.
Members of the PCG suffered temporary blindness due to the laser-pointing incident.
Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, however, said both the Philippine and Chinese sides should refrain from taking any provocative action in the disputed waters.
Meanwhile, the crew members of the BRP Malapascua and BRP Teresa Magbanua were given recognition for their efforts in protecting the Filipino fishermen in the WPS.
“To always keep in mind that the Coast Guard is now the frontline of our government in asserting the sovereign right of our country in the WPS. Malinaw ang pahayag ng ating pangulo that what is ours will remain to be ours, we will never let go even a single inch of our territory and the Coast guardians are expected to do that,” PCG commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said.
“The location where the laser pointing incident occurred rightfully belongs to our country. Our position on this matter is recognized and supported by community of like minded nations. Our unwavering determination and strong will to uphold our dignity and assert our sovereign rights will undoubtedly make a significant difference. If we fail to act possitively, isang mali, at miscalculated move ng tao natin will possibly trigger chaos,” he added.—Richa Noriega/LDF, GMA Integrated News