October 31, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — The Netherlands on Monday reaffirmed its support to the 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling that “vindicated” the Philippines’ claim over the South China Sea.
“We urge all parties to respect this ruling and refrain from confrontational actions,” said Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot, who was in Manila for an official visit.
“The Netherlands stands with the Philippines in its call for the full observance of international law in the South China Sea,” she added.
Bruins Slot’s visit was the first for a Dutch foreign minister in more than three decades. It coincided with the celebration of the Philippines and The Netherlands’ 72nd anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.
She revealed her country is planning to send a Dutch frigate to the South China Sea in 2024. “But we haven’t decided yet which ports it will embark,” she said.
She added The Netherlands would cooperate more closely with the Philippines to ensure a stable and open Indo-Pacific region.
Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, who earlier met with Bruins Slot, thanked the Dutch official for her statements of concern on the illegal and dangerous maneuvers made against Philippine vessels in view of the recent developments in the West Philippine Sea.
He said the two countries share the same unflinching commitment to the rules-based international order.
“Our Dutch colleagues, along with other like-minded nations, have been steadfast in their support for the 2016 arbitral award on the South China Sea. This award and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea are the keys to the peaceful resolution of disputes in the West Philippine Sea,” Manalo said.
Manalo and Bruins Slot also signed a memorandum of understanding allowing family members of Filipino and Dutch diplomats to gain employment when assigned in each other’s capital.
The two foreign ministers discussed the safety and security of the more than 22,000 Filipino seafarers working in Dutch-owned and Dutch-flagged vessels around the world.