Lorenzana backs US position on disputed areas in South China Sea
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana supports the United States position on the maritime claims in South China Sea.
"We strongly agree with the position of the international community that there should be a rules-based order in the South China Sea," the defense chief said on Tuesday.
"We urge China to comply with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling, and abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) to which it is a signatory," Lorenzana said.
"It is in the best interest of regional stability that China heed the call of the community of nations to follow international law and honor existing international agreements," he added.
Lorenzana issued his statement after a news report said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo rejected China's claims in South China Sea.
"The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire. America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law," Pompeo said in the report.
"We stand with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose 'might makes right' in the South China Sea or the wider region," he added.
However, Lorenzana emphasized that the Philippines will "continue to push for the finalization of a substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to settle disputes and prevent the escalation of tensions in the region." Robina Asido/DMS