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Del Rosario says Unclos to solve maritime dispute

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario Tuesday (May 8 ) said the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has never been more important for the Philippines than today, when overlapping maritime claims threaten the peace and prosperity of the region as never before.

In a statement issued on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Unclos, Del Rosario said the Philippines believes that the rules-based approach in UNCLOS, together with the norms in the UN Charter and international law, “are the way forward” in addressing in a just, peaceful and lasting manner the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Del Rosario said UNCLOS is the international law governing the rights and responsibilities of nations – big as well as small, rich or poor, coastal and landlocked – in their use of the world’s oceans.

“It enshrines the norms that determine the rights of States over maritime areas and contains important mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes on matters relating to the oceans,” the foreign secretary said.

Aside from the 30th anniversary of Unclos, the Philippines is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

“This is another historic and important document, particularly at this time when the Philippines is exerting every effort to address and resolve the conflicting claims in the West Philippine Sea,” Del Rosario said.

One hundred fifty nine countries, including the Philippines, signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on December 10 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

And on May 8, 1984, the Philippines became the eleventh State Party to ratify the UNCLOS, which would enter into force on November 16, 1994.

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