MFA Spokesman's comments In response to media queries on the Philippines' initiation of arbitration proceedings against China under Article 287 and Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
In response to media queries on the Philippines' initiation of arbitration proceedings against China under Article 287 and Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as its implications on ASEAN's position on the South China Sea, the MFA Spokesman said:
"What the Philippines has done is a national decision. Singapore first knew about this action from media reports. ASEAN’s position on the South China Sea issue has been stated in the 20 July 2012 "Statement on ASEAN's Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea". ASEAN has also consistently called for an early start to formal negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
Singapore's position is consistent and well known and has been stated several times. Singapore's position on the South China Sea was reiterated most recently in Minister (Foreign Affairs) K Shanmugam's written reply to a Parliamentary Question on 14 January 2013. Minister Shanmugam repeated that we are not a claimant state and that by their very nature, the specific territorial disputes in the South China Sea could only be settled by the parties directly concerned. Minister Shanmugam also said that this should be done in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and stated that all parties should refrain from provocative behaviour that could raise tensions in the South China Sea.
There are various ways to resolve disputes over territorial claims, including negotiations, adjudication and arbitration. Whether arbitration is an appropriate route depends on the facts and the parties concerned.
Beyond this, it would be inappropriate to comment on the Philippines' legal case as it would be sub judice, since an arbitration process has been started."
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
23 JANUARY 2013