Philippines Report

EU, Canada also back PH over Ayungin Shoal incident

EU, Canada also back PH over Ayungin Shoal incident

The European Union (EU) and Canada have joined the chorus of opposition to China’s aggressive stance in Ayungin Shoal, wherein three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned Philippine boats on a supply mission.

Both EU and Canada maintained that they stand by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as the 2016 landmark ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague that invalidated the nine-dash line–the basis of Beijing’s sweeping claims in the resource-rich region.

“Recent provocative actions taken against (the) Philippines are inconsistent with obligations of all countries under international law & risk escalation of tensions, to detriment of peace, security & prosperity,” Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur said in a tweet.

The EU also released a statement, which it posted on the website of the EU-External Action Service.

Its spokesperson, Nabila Massrali, said that the union “reiterates its strong opposition to any unilateral actions that endanger peace, security and stability in the region and the international rules-based order”.

“Furthermore, the European Union emphasises the importance for all parties to respect freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea,” the statement read.

The EU urged all parties to resolve the disputes “through peaceful means in accordance with international law,” particularly the UNCLOS.

It also reminded the parties of the Arbitral Award that found the Ayungin Shoal within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).and continental shelf.

“The European Union supports the ASEAN-led process towards a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, which should be effective, substantive and legally binding, and not prejudice the interests of third parties,” the statement said.

ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which the Philippines is a founding member. Other members—Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brunei Darussalam—are claimants to the disputed region.

Non-members China and Taiwan also have claims.

The EU and Canada’s remarks came on the heels of statements released by the United States (US), Australia, Germany, Japan, and France.

“The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of this escalation that directly threatens regional peace and stability, escalates regional tensions, infringes upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as guaranteed under international law, and undermines the rules-based international order,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement last week.

The Philippine Department of Foreign (DFA) already protested the action, relaying its “outrage, condemnation and protest” against what it called the “illegal” acts of the China Coast Guard.

The agency also said that the incident “threatens the special relationship” between the Philippines and China.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian maintained that the two Philippine supply boats “trespassed” into Chinese waters “without China’s consent”.

The Ayungin Shoal lies 105 nautical miles (194 kilometers) west of Palawan province in the Philippines and is within the country’s 200-nautical mile EEZ.

Like this Article? Share it!

About The Author

Leave A Response