DEPARTMENT of National Defense (DND) Officer-in-Charge Carlito G. Galvez Jr. has pushed for a dialogue and adherence to the rule of law in order to ensure peace and stability in Southeast Asia and in the whole Indo-Pacific region.
Galvez issued the call as he joined defense leaders around the world at the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) held in Singapore over the weekend wherein US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III was reported to have been snubbed by his Chinese counterpart.
The SLD, dubbed as “Asia’s premier defense summit,” is an annual gathering of defense ministers, senior military officials, diplomats, security experts and practitioners where the region’s pressing security issues are discussed and debated.
This year’s dialogue was held on Friday until Sunday where Galvez joined United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace and Canada Minister of National Defense Anita Anand in leading the discussions on the topic “Building a Stable and Balanced Asia-Pacific.”
In his statement, Galvez underscored rule of law, dialogue and multilaterism as key points in upholding peace and stability in the region amid increasing strains on the security environment.
He emphasized the role of international law as the greatest equalizer among states, recalling that it is exactly this belief that made the Philippines confidently resort to the compulsory dispute settlement mechanism of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and The Hague Tribunal.
The defense chief called on all parties who subscribe to the rule of law to express support for the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration Award and what it stands for as it is ultimately this support that will preserve the global order at sea and uphold the universally recognized principles of international law.
He also pushed for a substantive ASEAN-China Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that is negotiated through a process that perseveres despite the pressures of destabilizing actions.
Galvez also met with his counterparts from Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden and the United States of America.