Aquino seeks for unity among nations

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Thursday urged the international community for "sincere cooperation" and not to impose views and policies on each other.

Aquino made the statement amid the country's ongoing territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

"Each of our countries is beset with its own internal problems. But at the same time, we recognize that no comprehensive solution can be reached, without also taking into consideration the problems that the global community faces. None of us can realize our goals in isolation," the President said during the vin d'honneur he hosted for the members of the diplomatic corps in Malacanang in celebration of the country's 116th Independence Day.

"As such, a fine balance must be struck to avoid interfering in others' affairs. This can be achieved by rendering genuine and meaningful assistance, rather than by imposing our own views and policies on others—this can be achieved through sincere cooperation," he said.

More than just the interconnectivity afforded by technology, he said the world is united by a commonality of purpose, which is "how to overcome inequality, injustice, and conflict, and thus foster lasting progress, peace, and stability in an environment that truly upholds the rule of law."

The President said that the deepening relationships that the Philippine enjoys with other countries now, not only in Southeast Asia but with the rest of the community of nations, have led to increased opportunities for everyone.

"It is my hope that we can continue to maximize cooperation and avenues for dialogue, in realizing our aspirations for our peoples. Together, we have the best chance of eliminating our common problems. Divided, we may have no chance at all," he said.

The growing tension between China and other claimant countries in South China Sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, has dragged other countries into the issue. Other nations, such as the United States and Australia, have called on claimant-countries to peacefully settle the dispute and to follow rule of law.

China, which refused to participate in the case filed by the Philippines before an international tribunal to settle the territorial row, has been claiming sovereignty in almost entire South China Sea, even if those areas are covered by exclusive economic zones by other countries.

Meanwhile, in the same vin d'honneur, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, lauded the President for bringing peace to Mindanao through the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"We know well that the path to peace is covered with thorns and roses. But your declaration that we have, before us, a path that can lead to a stable change in the island of Mindanao, communicates the optimism and enthusiasm of gathering roses, without suffering injury from the thorns," he said.

"Therefore, Mr. President, we hope for a future of prosperity and cooperation with all those who are directly involved in this bold enterprise of priceless civic value. For us, representatives of governments and international organizations, this is our highest aspiration: to share peace with the peacemakers," he added.

The CAB was signed last March 27 in Malacanang, marking the end of the decades-long conflict in Mindanao.

The archbishop also praised the Philippines for its hosting of the World Economic Forum on East Asia last month.

"The Philippines is present not just to gain a greater economic growth, but also to give its contribution to a shared progress, inspired by social justice," the Papal Nuncio said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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