From left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Donald Tusk, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk to a tree planting ceremony as they visit the Ise Jingu shrine in Ise, Mie Prefecture, Japan, Thursday, May 26, 2016, as part of the G-7 Summit. From left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Donald Tusk, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk to a tree planting ceremony as they visit the Ise Jingu shrine in Ise, Mie Prefecture, Japan, Thursday, May 26, 2016, as part of the G-7 Summit. AP/Carolyn Kaster, Pool

G7 not biased for Philippines – Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines – The Group of Seven industrialized nations are not necessarily biased in favor of the Philippines in its case against China over maritime territorial disputes, a Palace official said yesterday, noting that the G7 leaders only wanted peace in Asia.

The G7 – composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – recently wrapped up their two-day annual leaders’ summit in Japan.


“In expressing concern over the South China Sea issue, the G7 Declaration affirmed the importance of upholding the rule of law,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed.

He issued the statement following reports last week that leaders of the G7 advanced economies had agreed on the need to send a strong message against China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.

In his regular weekend interview over state-run dzRB radio, Coloma said the G7 leaders only want “adherence to the rule of law as embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” which has “always been the linchpin of Philippine policy (on this issue).”

“President Aquino has been determined in pursuing an advocacy for a rules-based, peaceful and diplomatic resolution of disputes on maritime entitlements in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea,” he said.

It would not be far-fetched, though, if this has “gained broad-based support in the international community such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the G7, and the European Union.”

Coloma added that “this advocacy has brought to light the critical importance of upholding freedom of navigation and freedom of over flight and has been the basis for the Philippines’ decision to file a petition with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague,” Coloma added.

“This move of the Philippines has been welcomed and encouraged by many nations,” he said.

At the leaders’ meeting last week, Japanese deputy chief cabinet secretary Hiroshige Seko said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “led the discussion on the current situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Other leaders said it is necessary for G7 to issue a clear signal.”

According to reports, this agreement prompted a sharp rejoinder from China, which is not a member of the G7.

In a stern statement, China warned the G7 that it should not meddle with the South China Sea issue and suggested that the group focus on itself and “not poke its nose into other countries or matters beyond its remit.”

“I have made it very clear that the South China Sea issue has nothing to do with the G7 and its members. We believe that the G7 should focus its time and energy on coping with issues within it... This is also good for the G7 itself,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press briefing last Thursday.

- See more at: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/05/30/1588218/g7-not-biased-for-philippines-malacaang
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