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DFA: Standoff highlights UNCLOS' importance on 28th anniversary of Philippine ratification

MANILA, Philippines -- Exactly twenty-eight years ago, the Philippines became the 11th state to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario highlighted the pact’s importance as the Scarborough standoff with China entered its 30th day.

Without naming China, del Rosario said in a statement: “UNCLOS has never been more important for the Philippines than today, when overlapping maritime claims threaten as never before the peace and prosperity in our part of the world.”

He reiterated the Philippine position that UNCLOS, as well as other international laws, is the rules-based way to settle the dispute.

These “are the way forward in addressing in a just, peaceful and lasting manner the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea,” del Rosario said.

“UNCLOS is the international law governing the rights and responsibilities of nations -- big as well as small, rich or poor, coastal and landlocked -- in their use of the world’s oceans. It enshrines the norms that determine the rights of States over maritime areas and contains important mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes on matters relating to the oceans,” he said.

The DFA chief also pointed out that aside from UNCLOS, the UN Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1982, will also celebrate its 30th anniversary this year.

The Manila declaration “is another historic and important document, particularly at this time when the Philippines is exerting every effort to address and resolve the conflicting claims in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

The Philippines was among the 159 countries that signed UNCLOS on December 10, 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

After the ratification of many countries, UNCLOS entered into force on November 16, 1994.

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| May 8, 2012 | Article Link

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