Watchdog says ASEAN must stand vs. killings in Philippines

No Work in parts of Metro Manila on Thursday-Friday next week
40k troops to thwart terror threats to Asean summit
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08 May, 2017

Some leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have expressed concern over the maritime dispute in the South China Sea but will not mention the Philippines' victory against China in an worldwide arbitration court in the The Hague, Netherlands.

Philippine authorities say no fewer than 40,000 soldiers, policemen and uniformed personnel have been deployed in Manila as the city hosts a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Saturday.

He said the Philippines, which is ASEAN chair this year, could not alone force China to abide by it.

Duterte said invoking the worldwide court's verdict to Chinese government would be a bad precedent because it would only result in a fight between China and the Philippines. "It's only America. But how come they allowed that to happen", Duterte said, adding the United States could have used its navy to stop the reclamation work years ago.

His comment comes after the media obtained on Wednesday a draft of the Chairman's statement, which called on "full respect for legal and diplomatic processes" on the disputed islands in the South China Sea.

The People's SEA Campaign issued the statement on the eve of the ASEAN Summit in Manila slated April 26-29.

The Philippines Acting Foreign Minister says his country is keen to promote further investment with China, but cautioned that it could take some time to get large infrastructure projects already agreed up and running.

So I'll skip that.

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Mr Duterte, the firebrand former mayor of southern Davao City, has revived his country's economic and diplomatic ties with China and sought to recast relations with the USA, its long-time ally, since taking office previous year.

The Philippines has long recognized the dangers posed by illegal drugs to society, and stands firm in enacting appropriate measures, jointly with ASEAN states, as well as with the worldwide community, the DFA said in a statement.

Duterte said the COC in the South China Sea, which is expected to be tackled by Asean member states and China in May, would be raised at the summit.

Asked how ASEAN should deal with China, Duterte said dialogue was the "only luxury we have".

Philippine diplomats have said a "framework" code of conduct might be completed by June.

"Everyone is now watching the Philippines, we expect China to send its message to Southeast Asian countries through Duterte", a former government official involved in foreign policy told Reuters. "It's already there. What will be the objective of discussing it if you can't do anything about it?" he said, referring to seven islands China built in the Spratlys archipelago. "Have the sabbatical you most urgently need and we will ensure that you will be able to do that unhampered and well secured", Padilla said.

"What's the point of having a code of conduct if China has successfully militarised the South China Sea?"

South-east Asian nations and China are edging closer to an agreement that aims to lessen tensions over the flashpoint waters of the South China Sea. Duterte said he would take up his country's victory in the arbitration case at an unspecified time during his six-year term, a stance critics say may weaken the chances of Chinese compliance with the landmark ruling.


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