“The TAP, if you take a look at it, is DOC-centered. And the message that I wanted to deliver is, TAP is good because it’s DOC. If you don’t accept TAP, then you don’t believe in DOC. So let’s stop talking about DOC, right? We’re just humoring ourselves,” Philippine Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters.
“And when we put the TAP on the table, there were no objections. This is unique for ASEAN that an initiative does not encounter objections. I think people in ASEAN understood that we need to do something. Some spoke out. Some spoke out loudly. I know that there were sectors that believed in quieting things down, but as I said, from some sectors, the reaction was muted,” the Philippine top diplomat said.
“Everyone agreed that there was a problem, that we needed to come up with a solution to the problem.”
“I think if you’re quiet, it’s also a manifestation of support. You can support something quietly. You don’t have to be vocal about it.”
“The fact that there were no objections, I take that to mean that ASEAN was fully supportive,” Del Rosario added.
These statements of del Rosario after the meeting of ASEAN Foreign ministers with China, US and others over the weekend. Philippines raised TAP to solve disputes and lower the tension in the seas. This was supported by US and ASEAN countries, and was opposed by China.
Chinese Foreign Minister said on the sidelines of the forum that PH violated its own TAP by directly skipping to final phase which is the arbitration.