Fourth Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC March 7, 2014
....... " Both sides also welcomed the current negotiations on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and expressed optimism for a successful conclusion.
The two sides expressed concern over recent developments in the South China Sea, and emphasized the importance of upholding peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and freedom of navigation and overflight. The two sides reiterated that international disputes in the South China Sea should be settled in accordance with international law and through diplomatic or other peaceful means, such as through the use of arbitration. The two sides expressed concern over the ambiguity and potential breadth of some claims and agreed on the importance of all claimants clarifying their territorial and maritime claims. They underscored that maritime claims in the South China Sea must be derived from land features in accordance with the international law of the sea, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Both sides expressed hope for the expeditious conclusion of a meaningful Code of Conduct (COC) on the South China Sea between ASEAN and China. Both sides expressed opposition to unilateral measures that aim to alter the status quo and that escalate tensions in the region and called on all parties to exercise self-restraint.
The Philippines expressed its appreciation for assistance to be provided under the Global Security Contingency Fund, which focuses on Philippine maritime security, law enforcement, and counterterrorism training and capacity building." ......