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Philippines, US Agree to Step Up Maritime Cooperation

The Philippines and the United States committed to stepping up maritime policy and operational cooperation following a meeting of their respective representatives in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

At the second Philippines-United States Maritime Dialogue, both sides emphasized their commitment to maintaining the rules-based international order in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated China’s massive claims in the vital sea lane.

”[T]he rising tensions and critical situation in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea and the persistent and evolving challenges to the rules-based international order drive us to enhance ways to respond faster and in a more coordinated and effective manner,” Foreign Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs Maria Angela Ponce said in her opening remarks, as cited by the Philippine Embassy.

The two countries also talked about the broad scope of the bilateral maritime cooperation engagements and proposals, including measures to enhance combating transnational crimes at sea, addressing illicit, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and protecting and conserving the marine environment.

Shared challenges in the South China Sea, including prospects for trilateral maritime cooperation between the Philippines, the US, and Japan, were also discussed.

The Philippine delegation was led by Ponce, together with Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Jung H. Pak of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US State Department led the American delegation.

Source : GMA