President Benigno S. Aquino III and German Chancellor Angela Merkel  (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (MNS photo)

BERLIN, Germany (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday agreed that the territorial disputes in the South China Sea must be settled peacefully in accordance with international law.

President Aquino, who is in Germany for the last leg of his four-nation European tour, met with Chancellor Merkel at the Federal Chancellery, the official residence of the German leader.

“On this note, as regards the territorial and maritime disputes in Southeast Asia, the Chancellor and I share the conviction that these must be settled peacefully and should be based on international law,” the President said in a press conference after his talks with Merkel.

Chancellor Merkel supported the Philippines’ position to seek resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The German leader said both countries share the concerns on the increasing tensions in the region. “We believe in good, pragmatic approaches. But we also believe in solid, legal settlements of the disputes,” she said during a press conference.

“So I think the international dispute settlement arrangements that we have on the basis of UNCLOS is a very good way forward in order to settle those differences,” Chancellor Merkel added.

During a forum organized by French Institute for International Relations in Paris on Thursday, President Aquino underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia. “We continue to invite other claimant countries to join us, to accelerate the resolution of this very long standing dispute, which has lately caused much tension in our region,” the President said.

“The international community as a whole stands to gain when the rule of law is upheld—for only through such legal mechanisms can a truly just and stable world order be ensured,” he added.

According to President Aquino, the European Union leaders have also manifested their support for the resolution of disputes in the South China Sea based on the rule of law.

The Philippines is pushing for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea towards the conclusion of the binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. (MNS)