MANILA, Philippines – Amid China’s continuing maritime aggression, President Benigno Aquino III and visiting French President Francois Hollande on Thursday renewed their call for peace in Southeast Asia.
“We reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and promoting maritime security, freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS,” Aquino said in a joint press conference with Hollande following their expanded bilateral talks in Malacañang.
UNCLOS stands for United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Philippines has filed an arbitration case before a UN international tribunal to question the execessive maritime claims of China.
Beijing has refused to participate in the arbitration case initiated by Manila and has continued its reclamation activities and harrassment of Filipino fishermen in disputed territories.
Apart from the maritime issue, the two leaders discussed regional and global issues of mutual concern including terrorism.
“We likewise agreed to intensify the call on the international community to work together in order to fight terrorism in all its forms, as a common scourge to mankind,” Aquino said.