Lorenzana says arbitral ruling also provides cooperation framework

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The arbitral ruling that affirmed the Philippines’ territorial claims covered by the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) against China provided the country and the rest of the world with a framework for greater cooperation and understanding of complex maritime conflicts, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday night.

“Consistent with Philippine national policy, we shall continue to seek all avenues to achieve a peaceful and friendly management of all standing maritime disputes,” Lorenzana said in a statement as the Philippines commemorated the fifth anniversary of the arbitral ruling.

Lorenzana also called the ruling a milestone in the country’s history as it affirms its claim over the disputed waters.

“The award is final and executory. We also welcome the support of other nations who consider the award as having the force of international law. We likewise appreciate their serious concerns over excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea),” he added.

On July 12, 2016, the Philippines won the arbitration case it lodged against China after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line claim that covers nearly the entire South China Sea.

The defense chief also urged all nations with overlapping claims in the area to heed the call for a rules-based international order and refrain from acts that may escalate tension in the area. 

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