Money can apparently buy you love.
After 'dialoging' with their counterparts in Manila earlier this month, the New Zealand Department of Defense has publicly backed their new BFFs on the issue of how to deal with territorial disputes in the Spratly region.
On Friday, the New Zealand Department of Defense has said that it is necessary for claimant countries to abide by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and adhere to the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
The New Zealand government also agreed during a recent meeting with Filipino defense officials that the Spratly claimants—the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan—should abide by the code of conduct they had signed in 2002 about settling territorial dispute peacefully, the defense department said in a statement.
The UNCLOS sets a country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)—an area where it has a right to explore for and exploit natural resources while allowing freedom of navigation and overflight to others— at 200 nautical miles from its coastline.
The Philippines has tussled with China over certain isles and reefs in the vicinity of the Spratly chain that fall within what Manila considers its EEZ as well as Beijing’s “nine-dash-line” claims over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).