Japanese and Philippine lawmakers yesterday signed an agreement that they hope will jumpstart a global campaign for peaceful resolution of disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and East China Sea.
The Joint Document for Co-operation on Promotion of the Rule of Law at Sea states that both sides recognise that in settling maritime disputes, states should make and clarify their claims based on international law and they should not use force or coercion in pursuing their claims.
The agreement seeks to settle disputes by peaceful means and avoid any unilateral attempts to change the status quo through force or coercion.
Both sides further agreed to address maritime issues and encourage members of Congress to join efforts in establishing a “Parliamentarians’ League for Maritime Security in Asia” aimed at protecting and promoting maritime order based on international law.
Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the House Committee on National Defence and vice chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, said in a news conference that he will work for the adoption of the agreement in Congress as a resolution similar to what was signed in the US Congress.
Biazon and Hiroshi Nakada, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives and the head of the Japanese delegation, presided over the news conference.
In his discussions with the Japanese officials, as well as with other countries’ officials, Biazon cited the need to do a campaign “to raise awareness of other nations that there must be a resolution of disputes and this resolution must be in accordance (with) international law, specifically the Unclos.”
Unclos stands for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a 1982 accord recognised by 166 countries, including China and the Philippines.
“I agree with the mounting of a campaign by nations interested, nations that are directly affected and that are indirectly affected,” Biazon said, noting that 40% of world trade and commerce passes through the West Philippine Sea.
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