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China must uphold the declaration on the conduct of parties it signed in 2002, says Palace
 

Following Beijing’s statement that they have completed some of their land reclamation in the South China Sea, the Palace on Thursday said China must uphold what it signed back in 2002.

“Kahit ano po ang kanilang bigkasing pahayag sa kasalukuyan, kinakailangang panagutan po nila ang kanilang idineklara noong 2002. Doon po sa Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, nilagdaan po ito ng China at ng mga miyembro ng ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Isinasaad diyan na igagalang ang umiiral na sitwasyon. Isinasaad din na hindi dapat pakialaman ang mga umiiral na features sa South China Sea,” he added.

On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a daily briefing that land reclamation projects on some islands and reefs in the South China Sea had been completed “in recent days”.

“‘Di po ba ito ay malinaw na hindi pagsunod sa sarili nilang deklarasyon noong 2002. Kaya kung sabihin man po nilang tapos na o ititigil na o hindi na itutuloy, hindi pa rin mapapabulaanan ang nauna na nilang paglabag sa deklarasyon noong 2002,” explained Secretary Coloma.

Paragraph 5 of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea states: “The Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.”

Then Chinese Special Envoy and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi signed the declaration for the Republic of China.

Coloma further said that for its part, the Philippines has suspended improvements on the military airstrip on Pagasa Island.

“Mahalaga pa ring ipunto dito na ang hinahangad po natin ay ang mapayapa, rules-based at diplomatikong solusyon. Kaya itinigil po natin ang mga repair activities kahit mismo doon sa Pag-asa Island, upang ipakita na tinototoo po natin ang ating mga deklarasyon,” he added. (full story: 07.02.15)


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