Locsin Urges For ‘Universal Acceptance’ Of UNCLOS

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. urged for the universal acceptance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its value in preserving peace and stability in the region.

“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,” Locsin said in a speech during the 7th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law in Manila.

The UNCLOS, the foundation of the historic ruling on the South China Sea filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, is ratified by 168 parties.

Despite the near-universal acceptance of this “constitution for the oceans”, Locsin said the world’s “most imminent and potentially the most disastrous dangers” today still pertain to marine and maritime affairs — the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea.

Locsin pointed this out as he scored some states for going against the principle of pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be kept) in international law.

Aside from the 168 parties that fully accepted the pact, 14 UN member-states have only signed the convention but did not ratify. Meanwhile, the United States only signed the agreement but had not ratified it.

“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. (PNA)

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