Philippines gets Support for Peaceful West Philippines Sea from ASEAN neighbors + Chile

People's Republic of China President Hu Jintao did not meet President Benigno Aquino III in the APEC sideline meeting but both meet and discussed with Vietnam.

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said President Aquino received support for the Philippines' stance from Malaysia and Vietnam, during bilateral meetings with their leaders.

"[On] the West Philippine Sea, we are, of course, we're both on board. Both countries are on board in terms of the six principles that was agreed with ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and so we are anxious to see how that can be moved forward. Both leaders had expressed the need to be able to adopt a common position in ASEAN in terms of the challenges in the West Philippine Sea. And we are also together in terms of support for the forward movement of the code of conduct," del Rosario said at a media briefing, referring to Aquino's bilateral meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak.

He said Aquino and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang also pushed close cooperation in "dealing with the challenge that faced both of us."

"Vietnam has been a partner of the Philippines in terms of a cooperation to see how we both can address the challenge and be able to also work with other countries within ASEAN and also our other dialogue partners in terms of being able to move forward the objectives which we had closely defined as a peaceful resolution to the dispute in accordance with international law," he said.

Aquino held talks with the Malaysian and Vietnamese leaders Sunday. On Saturday, he held talks with Chilean president Sebastian PiƱera and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam are all claimants to the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

But the Philippines and China have also been locked in a territorial dispute since April over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

The Philippine and Chinese sides had tried to work out a meeting between Aquino and Hu at the sidelines of the APEC summit but scheduling conflicts prevented the meeting from pushing through.

On Saturday, del Rosario said Aquino thanked Lee for Singapore's support for the Philippines' position on the West Philippine Sea.

"The president expressed his gratitude for the very strong support Singapore has given the Philippines in terms of its position in the West Philippine Sea. Singapore committed to continue its support in terms of a peaceful resolution of the dispute in accordance with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," he said.

He said the two leaders also expressed the need for the ASEAN to "strengthen its solidarity and centrality in being able to reinforce the importance of ASEAN being an entity that would promote peace and stability in the region.

GMA News

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