PH, Brunei tackle South China Sea tensions

Posted at 07/11/2014 3:51 PM | Updated as of 07/11/2014 3:51 PM

MANILA – Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario paid a visit to Prince Mohamed Bolkiah of Brunei to discuss cooperation between the two Southeast Asian neighbors.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said Del Rosario exchanged views with Bolkiah, Brunei's minister of foreign affairs and trade, regarding the rising tensions in the South China Sea.

Both Del Rosario and Bolkiah ''affirmed their commitment to effectively manage the tensions and to seek a peaceful resolution of the disputes."

The two ministers also underscored the importance of the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in maintaining regional peace and stability.

Both the Philippines and Brunei claim parts of South China Sea, which is being claimed by China in almost its entirety, even waters approaching the coasts of other claimants.

While the Philippines has been vocal about its opposition to China's actions in the South China Sea, Brunei has been mostly quiet about the developments in the disputed waters.

Del Rosario and Bolkiah also discussed ways to further promote cooperation in areas such as labor, health, information and communications technology and multimedia, defense and law enforcement, and trade and investment.

''Both foreign ministers also acknowledged the need to look into other areas of potential cooperation, to further deepen and strengthen bilateral relations,'' the DFA said.

Del Rosario thanked Bolkiah for the role of Brunei in the International Monitoring Team monitoring the Philippine government's ceasefire with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; and for the help it gave to victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

Brunei is home to about 21,000 Filipinos, the DFA said.

The DFA said the 3rd Philippines-Brunei Joint Commission for Bilateral Consultations, which serve as the road map for bilateral cooperation, will be held in Manila in 2015.