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Spratlys > News > English News > April 2004 

Category: @News  @China

R.P. presses China to respect Spratly Code of Conduct

TODAY Reporter

The Philippines proposed the adoption of stricter guidelines to ensure the enforcement of the Code of Conduct among claimant-countries of the disputed Spratly Islands on the South China Sea amid China’s plans to start business ventures to develop the resources of the island group.

The new Chinese Ambassador to Manila, Wu Hongbo, who presented his credentials Thursday to Foreign Affairs Secretary Delia Albert, urged the Philippines to establish infrastructure projects to develop the Spratlys.

Wu was the deputy special commissioner of China’s foreign ministry office in Macau prior to his appointment to Manila. He will present his credentials to President Arroyo today in Malacañang.

Despite China’s plan to exploit the resources of the Spratlys that allegedly include oil reserves, the Philippines prefers to prioritize the creation of binding guidelines that will compel claimant countries to abide by the Code of Conduct that is supposed to prohibit the construction of new structures on the disputed islands, coral reefs and atolls.

Aside from the Philippines and China, the Spratlys are being claimed in whole or in part by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. All have signed the Code of Conduct but most claimants violate the code and continue to build structures or put up markers in the area.

The Philippines will host a meeting this month between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to formulate the terms of reference for the Code of Conduct.

“There is need to add more ‘teeth?to the code to make the practice more acceptable,?said a diplomatic source.

The source said Manila does not want this code to be just another agreement that was signed but not enforced by the concerned parties.

The Philippines has pushed for the adoption of the Code of Conduct in the Laws of the Seas in November 2002 amid China’s construction of military structures on the Mischief Reef, also known as Panganiban Reef, which is among the areas being claimed by the Philippines.

Despite the protests from Manila and other claimant countries, China refused to dismantle its structures on Mischief Reef.

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?section=NATIONAL&oid=48258