President Rodrigo Duterte was dismayed over the delay in the passage of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Sunday.
“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte attended the 34th ASEAN Summit Retreat today, June 23, where he expressed concern and disappointment over the delay in the negotiations for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea,” Panelo said in a statement.
He said Duterte had explained that there would be a higher probability of maritime incidents and a greater chance for miscalculations that could go out of control if it will take longer for ASEAN members to conclude the COC.
Panelo said Duterte “will continue to push for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, the Philippines being the country coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations.
He said Duterte also urged fellow ASEAN leaders to “remain united and steadfast in protecting time-honored principles of international law.”
“He expressed his support for the Philippines to adopt the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm ASEAN’s strategic role and the vision of a closely integrated Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions,” Panelo said.
During the Summit, which ended on Sunday, Panelo said Duterte also expressed his gratitude to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Puc for the act of Vietnamese fishermen during the Recto Bank incident that involved Filipino and Chinese vessels.
He said Duterte told Nguyen that “this act of kindness and compassion will always be remembered by the Philippines and its people.”
“The President’s remarks during the 34th ASEAN Summit Retreat underscored the fact that the President Duterte is not beholden to or afraid of any foreign country. He said that he is confident in articulating in clear and unequivocal terms the position of the Philippines as regards its interests before the global stage,” Panelo said. (PNA)