MANILA — The Philippines is determined to pursue peaceful settlement of disputes with China on overlapping claims in the West Philippine Sea.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma reiterated this Wednesday after the International Tribunal gave China until December 15 this year to respond to the country’s complaint that Beijing illegally occupied certain areas in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) territory.
Coloma said the Philippines notes the arbitral tribunal’s efforts to encourage China to participate in the arbitration process.
“We are determined to pursue the path of peaceful settlement of disputes as the key element in the conduct of states with claims to maritime entitlements in this WPS/SCS (South China Sea),” Coloma said in a text message to the Philippines News Agency.
Coloma believes that assurance of freedom of navigation and aviation in this vital artery of world commerce will promote regional peace and stability.
Citing President Benigno S. Aquino III’s earlier statements, the PCOO chief said that 40 percent of world commerce passes through the South China Sea.
“We still would like to envision a situation where there will be continuing stability in the South China Sea, as we have pointed out its strategic importance not just to regional, but to global commerce and trade,” Coloma earlier said.