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Regional cooperation way to solve tension in Spratlys

/ 11:04 PM July 07, 2011

We call for a negotiated political settlement of the Spratly islands disputes among contesting nations, such as the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. We are opposed to strong-arm tactics, bullying and warships deployment as these may escalate military tensions in the region.

The Philippines has lodged complaints against China’s increasing presence and military activities in the Spratly islands which—it is believed—has oil and natural gas reserves larger than the 13 billion tons held by Kuwait, making it the fourth largest reserve bed in the world.

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We call on all claimant countries to sit down and peacefully resolve the disputes. We also call on them to go into joint cooperation in the exploration of the natural resources of the islands and the surrounding sea for the benefit of the Asian nations as a whole.

We are proposing the kind of regional cooperation that is now developing in Latin America through the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for Latin America), which fosters economic integration and mutual aid in the region. ALBA includes the countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba.

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In this regard, we call on the Asean member-countries and China to stop increasing military tension and foster regional cooperation to assist each other in the economic and maritime field by the operationalization of the China-Asean Common Market which could develop and manage the disputed islands.

We also advise President Aquino to exercise restraint and diplomacy, stop the military posturing over the Spratlys dispute, and not to call on the United States to meddle in the disputes under the guise of helping the Philippines. The United States has its own imperial interests in the region, and its entry into the disputes will only aggravate the divisions among Asian neighbors. War in Asia will only play to the advantage of big powers and, ultimately, the United States which has vast economic interests and major military bases and troops stationed in the region.
—SONNY MELENCIO,
chairperson,
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), [email protected]

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TAGS: Asean, China, conflict, Letters to the Editor, regional cooperation, spratlys
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