Mindanao Times

President upset over delay in ASEAN Code of Conduct

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BANGKOK – President Rodrigo Duterte was dismayed over the delay in the passage of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, Presidenti­al Spokespers­on Salvador Panelo said Sunday.

“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte attended the 34th ASEAN Summit Retreat today, June 23, where he expressed concern and disappoint­ment over the delay in the negotiatio­ns for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea,” Panelo said in a statement.

He said Duterte had explained that there would be a higher probabilit­y of maritime incidents and a greater chance for miscalcula­tions that could go out of control if it will take longer for ASEAN members to conclude the COC.

Panelo said Duterte “will continue to push for the full and effective implementa­tion of the 2002 Declaratio­n on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, the Philippine­s being the country coordinato­r for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations.

He said Duterte also urged fellow ASEAN leaders to “remain united and steadfast in protecting time-honored principles of internatio­nal law.”

“He expressed his support for the Philippine­s to adopt the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm ASEAN’s strategic role and the vision of a closely integrated Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions,” Panelo said.

During the Summit, which ended here Sunday, Panelo said Duterte also expressed his gratitude to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Puc for the act of Vietnamese fishermen during the Recto Bank incident that involved Filipino and Chinese vessels.

He said Duterte told Nguyen that “this act of kindness and compassion will always be remembered by the Philippine­s and its people.”

“The President’s remarks during the 34th ASEAN Summit Retreat underscore­d the fact that the President Duterte is not beholden to or afraid of any foreign country. He said that he is confident in articulati­ng in clear and unequivoca­l terms the position of the Philippine­s as regards its interests before the global stage,” Panelo said. (PNA)

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