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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Philippines Calls for ASEAN Solidarity

Foreign Affairs Sec. Del Rosario yesterday called on the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to maintain regional solidarity amid prevailing tensions in the region. Del Rosario cited recent reports of a new Chinese fishing regulation in the South China Sea, as well as the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) established last November. The new Hainan Fisheries Law, which took effect this month, would require all foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from Chinese authorities before transiting into Hainan's administrative zone in the South China Sea. The East China Sea ADIZ similarly requires aircrafts flying through the zone to provide identification and follow instructions or face defensive emergency measures from China's Armed Forces. With these developments, Del Rosario said ASEAN's work for a Code of Conduct in South China Sea (COC) to manage tensions might be undermined if such changes to status quo persist. At the retreat, Del Rosario enumerated the Philippines priorities in ASEAN under Myanmar's chairmanship. These include pursuit of rules based ASEAN Community of shared values and norms; support for the development of ASEAN's post 2015 vision; review and assessment of regional disaster management mechanism; early conclusion of ASEAN instruments to combat trafficking in persons, promotion and protection of human rights and enhancement of maritime connectivity in ASEAN.         
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