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14 July 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippines welcomed a United States Senate resolution urging Beijing and other parties to the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea not to undertake new unilateral attempts to change the status quo prevailing in the disputed areas since 2002.

The Philippine Embassy said Resolution 412, which was passed by the Senate last Thursday, also reaffirmed Washington’s strong support for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and, more importantly, its Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines.

In his report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said the resolution, was introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (Democrat, New Jersey), Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (Republican Florida), Ben Cardin (Democrat, Maryland), John McCain (Republican, Arizona), James Risch (Republican, Idaho), and Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont).

“We welcome the passage of Senate Resolution 412 and express our gratitude to Chairman Menendez and his colleagues in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their support of the Philippine position,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

The resolution also “urged all parties to refrain from engaging in destabilizing activities, including illegal occupation or efforts to unlawfully assert administration over disputed claims and ensure that disputes are managed without intimidation, coercion, or force.”

In its resolution, the US Senate said Manila properly exercised its rights to peaceful settlement mechanisms in filing an arbitration case against China and expressed hope that Beijing abides by the ruling.

The resolution, which came a few weeks after Manila protested the reclamation activities being undertaken by China in other disputed areas in the South China Sea, also reaffirmed the strong support of the US Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ambassador Cuisia also noted that said Senate Resolution 412 reaffirmed US long standing policy on Article 5 of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty. ###