Code of Conduct to ensure peace in WPS: Esperon

Code of Conduct to ensure peace in WPS: Esperon

MANILA – National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he believes that the Code of Conduct (COC) being worked out by member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is among the measures to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

“Ang isang solusyon dito ay yung Code of Conduct na pinag-uusapan ngayon ng Asean, of course led by our Department of Foreign Affairs. Nandun sila at ng China para magkaroon ng Code of Conduct upang itong South China Sea ay maging isang karagatan na tahimik at magandang magnegosyo (One of the solutions to ensure this is the Code of Conduct currently being discussed by the Asean, of course led by our Department of Foreign Affairs. They are there at the talks, and of course, China so that there would be a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea so it could become peaceful and conducive for business),” he said in an interview with SMNI on Tuesday.

The COC is expected to be a regional framework that establishes rules and standards for regional peace and stability amid several long-running and escalating disputes.

“Remember ang South China Sea ay 5 trillion (US dollars) worth of goods pass every year. Napakaimportante, hindi lang dito sa atin sa Asean kundi sa buong mundo (Remember that USD5 trillion worth of goods passes in the South China Sea every year. It is very important not only to Asean but the rest of the whole world, as well),” Esperon said.

He also noted that the Philippines’ relations with China do not start and end with the issue and that going to war is not the way to resolve the issues in the region.

This came in the wake of the Chinese Coast Guard’s act of blocking and firing water cannons on two Philippine boats transporting supplies to Philippine military personnel at the BRP Sierra Madre at the Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal on November 16.

The move drew international criticism and from President Rodrigo Duterte himself, who said the incident “does not speak well of relations” between Manila and Beijing.

A week after the incident, the Philippines resumed its resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal.

However, reports said Chinese Coast Guard personnel aboard a rubber boat allegedly took pictures and videos of the mission.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Chinese Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian has vowed to look into the incident, an act which Manila views as a form of intimidation and harassment. (PNA)

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