DFA hopes PH-US deal signed before Obama visit

Posted at 03/24/2014 3:49 PM | Updated as of 03/24/2014 6:54 PM

MANILA - Newly-appointed Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose on Monday said China should respect any decision by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on which country has exclusive jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea.

"May character itong panel na ito dahil ito ay provided sa UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), pero yung decision niya, hindi mai-enforce. Walang enforcing power ITLOS," Jose explained.

"But kung ang China gusto niyang ituring siyang isang responsible member ng international community, they are buty-bound to respect and comply with the decision of the panel."

The Philippines is preparing to file its arguments, known as "memorial", on March 30 in its arbitration case before the tribunal.

Jose said negotiations with Washington on an expanded US military presence in the Philippines are proceeding on a parallel track with other efforts by Manila to mount a minimum credible defense posture against all possible aggressors.

He hopes the talks can be concluded ahead of US President Barack Obama's planned visit to the Philippines in April.

"Parallel dyan, gusto natin magkaroon ng minimum credible defense posture or capability," he said.

"Given yung limited natin na resources, we have to ask for the support an cooperation of our allies in the region… We are right at the tail-end of the negotiations for enhanced defense cooperation. Hopefully we will be able to sign the agreement before the visit of US President Barack Obama." – with ANC