Palace hails PH’s role in ASEAN-China ties

MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday welcomed the formal announcement of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the designation of the Philippines as the new Country Coordinator for the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations.

Prime Minister Lee made the announcement during his opening remarks at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit, wherein he expressed confidence in the Philippines' ability to continue bringing ASEAN's relations with China to greater heights, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo said the Philippines will assume the role as Country Coordinator until year 2021.

With the President's pragmatic, transparent and diplomatic orientation in his foreign policies, our country's designation will significantly play a pivotal role in bridging a more solid partnership between ASEAN and China, particularly as both commit to the expeditious conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea that is agreeable to all parties concerned, Panelo said.

In his speech during the 33rd ASEAN Summit Working Dinner last Tuesday, Duterte said the Philippines is prepared to do its part as Country Coordinator.

In our role as Country Coordinator of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations until 2021, we are committed to work with all concerned parties in the substantive negotiations and early conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct, Duterte said.

On Thursday, Duterte reiterated his commitment to do his best to push for early conclusion of the COC which seeks to govern activities and ensure peace and stability in the disputed territory.

I made a very strong statement yesterday about the urgent need for a COC so that everybody will know. Because when you claim an ocean, the whole of it, then that is a new development in today's world, Duterte said.

So, any sense, it would also change - radical changes in the laws of governing international waters, particularly the right of free passage or the right of innocent passage, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency