CALOOCAN CITY, July 15 (PIA) -- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday urged for "rules-based" order in the South China Sea following a latest statement by the United States rejecting China's claim of owning nearly the entire South China Sea.
"We strongly agree with the position of the international community that there should be a rules-based order in the South China Sea," Lorenzana said in a statement sent to the PIA-NCR.
"We urge China to comply with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling, and abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) to which it is a signatory," he added, calling on the Chinese government to abide by international law and comply with the 2016 arbitral ruling that nullified the Chinese claims.
The United States on Tuesday rejected as "illegal" most of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. It also branded as "completely unlawful" China's expansive claims across most of the South China Sea.
China, for its part, is asserting its claim to almost the entire South China Sea, including areas being claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
"It is in the best interest of regional stability that China heed the call of the community of nations to follow international law and honor existing international agreements," Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana also expressed hope for the finalization of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in order to settle disputes and prevent the escalation of tensions in the region.
"Moving forward, we continue to push for the finalization of a substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to settle disputes and prevent the escalation of tensions in the region," he said. (PIA NCR)