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Duterte calls for regional unity to attain stability in South China Sea



President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said that member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must remain united in pursuing peace, stability and prosperity in the South China Sea.

Duterte attended the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits via video conference.

He added that the regional bloc should pursue these initiatives in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award that favored the Philippines.

“We have come a long way in keeping the peace and promoting prosperity in our region. We must not allow those with diverging interests to make our efforts fail,” he stressed.

During his intervention at the 24th ASEAN-China Summit, Duterte urged countries to translate their commitments into action regarding the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in the midst of the evolving geopolitical situation in Asia.

He expressed his gratitude to China for supporting ASEAN’s pandemic response, particularly by making life-saving vaccines global public goods.

“ASEAN’s road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be long and difficult as the region reels from the impact of the contagion,” Duterte said.

At the 39th ASEAN Summit, Duterte called on his ASEAN counterparts to stand with Myanmar in solving its crisis peacefully for the welfare of its people.

Myanmar’s political players, he said, must engage in constructive dialogue, and the ASEAN Special Envoy must be allowed to visit the country.