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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

1982 UNCLOS, key to all maritime issues

Philippines calls on other countries to uphold UNCLOS in ASEAN meetings

MANILA – Foreign Affairs Asst. Secretary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Affairs and ASEAN-Philippines Director-General Junever M. Mahilum-West called on different countries to uphold the 1982 United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) as the sole legal framework under which all ocean activities are regulated at the 10th ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) and the 8th Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) held the other day, December 15.

“We urge the members of the AMF and the EAMF to work towards fulfilling their obligations under the 1982 UNCLOS for the peace, stability, and prosperity of our region,” said Asst. Secretary Mahilum-West.

She also reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to achieving the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) that is in accordance with international law, specifically the 1982 UNCLOS, and proposed the harmonization of national governance efforts with regional and international maritime cooperation frameworks, or at least the enhancement of their complementaries.

Underscoring the priorities of the Philippines in the area of maritime governance and cooperation during the series of ASEAN meetings, Asst. Secretary Mahilum-West highlighted national efforts in maritime governance, including the establishment of the National Coast Watch Council to strengthen interagency coordination on maritime affairs and cited the Trilateral Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia and Malaysia to combat transnational maritime crimes in the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea.

The AMF was established in 2010 and has been the venue for dialogue on a wide range of maritime issues including maritime security trends, maritime cooperation, maritime domain awareness, and maritime environmental protection among others. The EAMF includes ASEAN’s partners, according to the DFA statement. (Melo M. Acuña)

Foreign Affairs Asst. Secretary of ASEAN Affairs and ASEAN-Philippines Director-General Junever M. Mahilum-West delivers her remarks on the COC negotiations recently. (DFA Photo)

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