MANILA, Philippines - The European parliament adopted a resolution on March 14 approving a report that included its support for the Philippines’ arbitration initiative, under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in clarifying the country’s maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced yesterday.
In the report, a paragraph on the West Philippine Sea stated that the parliament “underlines the global importance of the South China Sea through which one third of the world’s trade passes; is alarmed at the escalating tension and therefore urgently appeals to all parties involved to refrain from unilateral political and military actions, to tone down statements and to settle their conflicting territorial claims in the South China Seas by means of international arbitration in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, in order to ensure regional stability.”
The report, prepared by the parliament’s committee on foreign affairs on European Union-China relations, likewise called on China to “commit itself to observing the UN Charter and international law in pursuit of its goals abroad.”
“The European parliament’s resolution is a milestone in the efforts of our country to generate awareness and support for our arbitration efforts,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.
“The recourse to arbitration is firmly rooted in the tradition of good global citizenship. We are strongly committed to seeing this arbitration through and there should be no doubts about our resolve to clarify our maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law,” he stressed.
The European parliament represents the largest transnational democratic electorate in the world, with some 375 million eligible voters in 2009.
A United States Senate resolution on the peaceful settlement of disputes in the West Philippine Sea was unanimously passed in 2012.