|President Duterte at the Meeting with State Councilor and Minister of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China General Wei Fenghe. (Presidential photo via Inquirer PH).|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told a senior Chinese official that disputes in the South China Sea must be resolved in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), Malacañang said on Saturday.
The President stated to China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who paid a courtesy call on him at the Palace on Friday while on a visit to Manila.“We must always be guided by our commitments in international law. Any and all disputes must be resolved peacefully in full accord with the Unclos and all relevant international instruments,” Mr. Duterte told Wei.Malacañang didn't say whether the Chinese defense chief responded to that statement from the President.
Mr. Duterte was reiterating his call during the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in June to adhere to international law and the Unclos to resolve maritime disputes in the South China Sea.The Philippines, China and several Asean members, such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, have conflicting claims in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, China wants to settle these disputes bilaterally rather than through multilateral or international platforms. China and Asean have been negotiating the pact in an effort to deter aggressive acts by claimant states that could spark a major armed confrontation in the disputed waters.