By: Frances Mangosing
INQUIRER.net, 27 May 2016
The Philippines is pushing for the inclusion of coast guards and other maritime forces in the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (Cues), an agreement covering air and naval encounters among 20 countries.
The proposal was made at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) in Laos this week, the Department of National Defense said in a news release on Friday.
It said the proposal would “hopefully once more be positively considered by the ADMM.”
The Philippines made the proposal amid rising tensions in the hotly contested South China Sea, which is mostly claimed by China. The conduct of freedom of navigation patrols in the disputed waters by the United States has been consistently opposed by China.
The current Cues, which covers standards for communication, safety procedure for naval ships and aircraft during unplanned encounters at sea, only covers naval forces. Countries that joined the 2014 agreement include, US, China, Japan, Asean countries, among others.
“Relatedly, the ministers agreed as indicated in their issued Joint Declaration that they shall commence work on crafting protocols of interaction to avoid misunderstanding and prevent undesirable in the South China Sea,” the Department of National Defense (DND) said.
The defense chiefs at the meeting also emphasized the importance of fast-tracking the conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, it added.