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Monday, June 24, 2024

ASEAN maintains UNCLOS should apply on SCS disputes

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reasserted its conviction that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) should be respected and obeyed insofar as the South China Sea territorial disputes are concerned.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, the current chairman of the ASEAN issued this observation at the 7th ASEAN Media Forum when asked about the worsening tension at the West Philippine Sea (WPS) between the Philippines and China, the GMA News reported.

“We closely monitor the situation right now in the South China Sea and I think the position of ASEAN is very clear, crystal clear: That UNCLOS 1982 should be prioritized when it comes about South China Sea,” Marsudi told the reporters.

“And the position of Indonesia is crystal clear, that everyone, every country should adopt and implement UNCLOS 1982,” the minister added.

Marsudi also disclosed that the ASEAN was still negotiating with China to finalize the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

“On the situation of the South China Sea, of course, South China Sea is in our region, we are now negotiating the Code of Conduct. Hopefully we will be able to finalize it soon but not only a fast, quick negotiation but also a substantial negotiation,” she said.

“So we do hope when we finalize the negotiation, the situation on the South China Sea will be more conducive,” she stressed.

Early this month, a China Coast Guard vessel collided with Philippine boat on a mission to deliver fresh supplies to troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre warship which was grounded at the Ayungin Shoal in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines maintains a small navy personnel on BRP Sierra Madre to guard the shoal, located 105.77 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine province of Palawan and constitutes part of the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf as provided under a United Nations convention.

Relations between the Philippines and China remained uptight over increasing bullying by China Coast Guard vessels against Philippine ships including fishermen’s boats at the disputed waters. Several near-collisions with Chinese ships and other dangerous maneuvers by its coast guard against Filipino vessels have occurred during routine Philippine resupply missions to the shoal, which is being claimed by China as part of its territory.

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