National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año on Tuesday welcomed the Group of 7’s (G7) support to the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling that boosted the Philippines’ claims in the West Philippine Sea. “We welcome the statement of the world’s most powerful democracies or the G7 affirming the binding nature of the 2016 arbitral tribunal which invalidated China’s massive claims to the West Philippine Sea and affirming their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said in a message to reporters. The G7 is composed of the world’s most powerful democracies — the United States of America, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, plus the European Union as a non-enumerated member. “Indeed, we emphasize the universal and unified character of the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and we call on all nations to adhere to UNCLOS’s important role in setting out the legal framework that governs all activities in the oceans and the seas,” Año said. He also added that the Philippines is prepared to cooperate with all G7 nations in maintaining peace and stability in the region. This includes pushing for a peaceful resolution of the current territorial dispute in accordance with international law and practice. In a statement, the G7 leaders reiterated that the award rendered by the arbitral tribunal on July 12, 2016 ‘is a significant milestone, which is legally binding upon the parties to those proceedings and a useful basis for peacefully resolving disputes between the parties.’ ‘There is no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militarization activities in the region,’ the group said. The PCA ruling invalidates China’s nine-dash line territorial claims that cover nearly the entire South China Sea, including the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
Source: Philippines News Agency