By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero along with nine other chiefs of defense forces of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reaffirmed the “importance of maintaining and promoting peace and security in the South China Sea.
In the joint statement issued after the ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces informal meeting (ACDFIM) held Thursday (March 8) in Singapore, all top military heads also recognized the need for cautious actions in the disputed region.
“Reaffirming the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in and over flight above the South China Sea, as well as the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may complicate the situation,” the statement said.
It also added the importance of pursuing a peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law on the Sea (UNCLOS).
Aside from the Philippines, the Defense Forces of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam took part in the meeting.