Envoy pushes rules-based tack in settling WPS row

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Danish Ambassador to the Philippines Grete Sillasen has proposed a rules-based approach to settle the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute between the Philippines and China.

“We follow the rules and we want a rules-based approach to the use of the seas and also of how the seas are being used for commercial purposes,” Sillasen told The Manila Times.

The ambassador said while the issue has no direct impact on her country, it is of importance to Denmark, being a maritime nation and the home of the biggest container company in the world — Maersk.

“So far commercial ships have not been held back from sailing toward it. At this stage, we are not affected by it in a direct way but as I say it is of course something of great importance to us,” she said.

The European Union (EU), of which Denmark is a member, stressed it cannot allow countries to unilaterally undermine the rule of law in the WPS.

“EU stands by the rules-based order of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Vernon said in a tweet.

British Foreign Minister Nigel Adams told Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. the UK shared the Philippines’ concerns over the WPS, “including actions which raise tensions there.”

President Rodrigo Duterte this week said he will send warships to stake a claim for the Philippines in the WPS if China starts extracting oil and other resources from the disputed territory.

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