Revival of PHL-China ties shows country’s commitment to address WPS issue peacefully

Warming of Philippine-China ties demonstrates the country's efforts for a peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue.

This was stressed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during his speech on Thursday at the Conservatory, The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City.

Lorenzana talked about the "Changing Strategic Environment: The Philippines and ASEAN's Role in the South China Sea."

"The Philippines is of the view that a peaceful and stable region is anchored of harmonious relations between states. Close cooperation in dealing with security challenges as well as joint initiatives will not only be beneficial for security, but also for the livelihood of our people," he said.

This is despite the country's historic win at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration last July.

"Adherence to the rule of law is the primary mechanism to ensure regional peace and stability and to manage differences. The Philippines has been consistent in its position that international law is the greater equalizer between big and small states, as well as between major and small powers. Thus, the Philippine government, in all of its pronouncements, has always emphasized the centrality of the rule of law and upholding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in addressing territorial and maritime security challenges in the South China Sea," Lorenzana said.

The DND chief added if the regional security architecture is to be an inclusive one, "we must be able to develop good relations with other regional states."

"Along this line, the Philippines has been engaging Russia to pursue cooperation in addressing common concerns," Lorenzana said.

In line with this, he said that during his visit to Russia with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, he personally invited Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to the 4th ASEAN Defense Ministers' meeting (ADMM)-Plus which the country will host in 2017.

He added the Philippines is committed in enhancing its existing relations with long-standing partners.

"Our alliance with the US remains to be a cornerstone of Philippine security posture. In the recent Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) Meeting last month, we agreed to conduct activities that will addess current Philippine security concerns, namely: non-traditional security issues, and ensure that such activities will continue to be of high impact and great value as we have previously agreed upon. We continue to sustain dialogue to ensure that the alliance remain attuned to the realities of the 21st century," Lorenzana stressed.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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