FOREIGN Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday said the world would be safer if only the greatest power on earth would abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Locsin, in a speech during the 7th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law in Manila also called for the universal acceptance of the UNCLOS to preserve peace and stability in the region, particularly referring to issues in the South China Sea (SCS) and Persian Gulf.
“If only we respected pacta sunt servanda in our obligations under UNCLOS, there would be less animosity with its greater likelihood of conflict. If only the greatest power on earth led by the example of subscribing to UNCLOS, it would be a safer world,” he said.
He added “the only cure for the uncertainty that gnaws at our sense of security — and invites us to prepare for war to find its opposite in peace — is the universal acceptance of international law. Not in place of the national self-interest but to serve it better.”
The Secretary stressed that 2019 marks the 25th year of the coming into force of the UNCLOS.
“Despite near universal acceptance by 168 states parties,” Locsin said, “the most imminent and potentially the most disastrous dangers in our world today pertain to marine and maritime affairs — the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea.”
Aside from the 168 parties that fully accepted the pact, 14 UN member-states have only signed the convention but did not ratify. The United States signed the agreement but has not ratified it either.
The Philippines has been locked in territorial dispute with China, which claims almost all the South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims in the disputed waters, believed rich in oil and gas deposits.