The Philippines on July 13 announced that it deplores the non-issuance of a joint communique on the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) which was unprecedented in ASEAN’s 45 years of existence.

The Philippines takes strong exception to the statement made by the Chair of the AMM that this will be “the first time that ASEAN is not able to issue the Joint Communique due to bilateral conflict between some ASEAN member states and a neighboring country”.

The Philippines’ Foreign Ministry emphasised that Manila will continue to keep its point of view that the dispute arising in the East Sea are not merely bilateral differences but multilateral conflicts which therefore should be settled multilaterally.

It added that the ASEAN consensus reached during the Senior Officials Meeting last June on the elements of a Code of Conduct on the East Sea (COC) already clearly underscores the fact that the ASEAN is pursuing the resolution of the disputes in a multilateral manner, and not in a bilateral fashion.

The Philippines further said that the ASEAN Foreign Ministers have already agreed to initiate discussions between ASEAN and China on the development of the COC./.