Secretary Locsin recognizes US support for 2016 Arbitral Award
MANILA – Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. in his Omnibus Intervention at the Special ASEAN-U.S. Foreign Ministers Meeting credited the United States of America for its contribution of tens of billions of dollars in cash and vaccines, indirectly through COVAX, which he described as the UN initiative “that is redeeming the expense of its existence.”
“America is reportedly hosting the production of vaccines Americans won’t take; clearly for the greater benefit of mankind,” he said.
He likewise credited the United States for its decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement. Secretary Locsin said he talked with US Special Envoy John Kerry and agreed to work closely towards Glasgow, “and remain steadfast towards the goal of net zero emissions.”
The Philippine foreign secretary underscored the Philippines’ support for the Five-Point Consensus ASEAN reached in Jakarta on Myanmar which include the call to end the violence, constructive dialogue, designation of a Special ASEAN Envoy, provision of humanitarian Assistance through the AHA Centre, and inspection visits to Myanmar by the Special ASEAN Envoy – “be it single or multiple.”
He emphasized the importance of the restoration of the political status quo ante the coup and called for the release of Daw Aung Suu Kyi and the rest of the opposition now under detention. However, he added nothing has happened to their call.
Secretary Locsin said despite the setbacks due to COVID-19, there’s an ongoing negotiation on the Code of Conduct and as ASEAN-China coordinator, “we promised to deliver a much shorter and more digestible yet still comprehensive COC draft for second reading.” He added the Philippines will turn over the position of Coordinator between ASEAN and China to Myanmar in two months.
“We welcome the United States’ open support for the 2016 Arbitral Award. It is binding international law and the most authoritative application of UNCLOS on the maritime entitlements of features in the South China Sea. As such, it contributes to the rules-based order in ASEAN and benefits all the countries that use the vital artery that is the South China Sea. The rest is bluster,” he further said.
In closing, he expressed his thanks to the United States of America “for its reaffirmation with greater clarity of the protection to Philippine Sovereignty by the Mutual Defense Treaty” which he described in the Southeast Asian context as “keeping peace and maintaining stability without pointless distractions.” (Melo M. Acuña)
Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. (DFA File Photo)