Philippines Expresses Commitment to Code of Conduct Negotiations at ARF Maritime Security Meeting
ASEAN-Philippines Director-General and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Junever M. Mahilum-West discusses updates on the COC negotiations during the 12th ARF Inter-Sessional Meeting on Maritime Security. (DFA-ASEAN photo)
PASAY CITY 30 April 2021 – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Philippines Director-General and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Junever M. Mahilum-West expressed the Philippines’commitment to the resumption and progress of the negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea during the 12th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Meeting on Maritime Security on 29 April 2021.
Assistant Secretary Mahilum-West said that despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic, a step-by-step resumption of the negotiations is ongoing. The Philippine official highlighted Philippine key objectives of protecting its national security and maintaining peace and stability in the region while upholding the principles of freedom of navigation and overflight, freedom of commerce and other lawful uses of the seas, exercise of self-restraint, and peaceful resolution of disputes; rallied for a conducive environment which is crucial for the COC negotiations; and called out actions that provoke, escalate tensions, and undermine mutual trust in the South China Sea as these violate international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS, and impede the progress of the COC negotiations.
Other matters discussed in the meeting included activities and achievements under ARF’s maritime security workstream. It also involved an exchange of views on regional maritime security issues. END