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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        14  June 2011

Philippines asserts Spratly claim

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The Philippine government on Monday said that the Philippines was committed to improve its military and naval capabilities in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) to enable the country to protect its territorial claim there. During a Palace briefing, spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the Aquino administration has always called for a peaceful, multilateral settlement of contested claims to the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

“The Philippine government has been clear and consistent with respect to its position on our national territory. The administration has always asserted that it will dismiss out of hand any claim to what are considered integral parts of Philippine territory, such as the Recto [Reed] Bank in western Palawan,” Lacierda added.

He said that since 1935, the country has abided by a constitutional provision adopting the principles of international law for the settlement of international claims and disputes.

“The (Aquino) administration has also always called for a peaceful, multilateral settlement with regard to contested claims in the West Philippine Sea, along the lines of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and applicable international laws, notably the UNCLOS [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas],” Lacierda added.

The spokesman reiterated Malacañang’s call on all parties concerned to refrain from making statements that would impede resolution of the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

“Concerning our defense posture, the administration is determined to improve the capabilities of our military and Coast Guard to enable the effective patrol and protection of our national territory and Exclusive Economic Zone,” Lacierda said.

Taking the cue from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Lacierda said that the Palace will be referring to the South China Sea as “West Philippine Sea.” He added that other countries call the South China Sea based on their own perspective, citing that Vietnam refers to it as the East Sea.

The DFA “has consistently used West Philippine Sea and the Department of National Defense has also been using West Philippine Sea. So it is incumbent on us to just follow, take the cue from them and to refer to the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea,” Lacierda said.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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