Stay the course: Del Rosario’s parting words on South China Sea
Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has one advice for the next administration on foreign policy, particularly in handling the South China Sea dispute: Stay the course.
Del Rosario’s five years as head of the foreign service and his handling of the arbitration case against China’s territorial claim in the South China Sea were cited at a luncheon hosted by the Makati Business Club on Friday.
Asked about his advice to the incoming administration, he said: “(It) should consider staying in the course.”
Del Rosario wished the next administration would carry out the Department of Foreign Affairs’ “three pillars” in a principled manner.
These pillars are “enhancement of national security, attainment of economic security and … promotion of the interest of all Filipinos overseas.”
On proposals for the Philippines to jointly develop the South China Sea with China, Del Rosario said he was amenable to that as long as “it is in accordance with the rule of law.”
He also told his audience of businessmen and diplomats that the ruling of the Hague-based United Nations arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea dispute, once rendered, “will be legally binding.”
“We are enjoining other nations to convince China to respect the rule of law,” he said.
Del Rosario said recent developments as a result of Chinese unilateral conduct of test flights and island-building activities had posed challenges to freedom of navigation, overflight operations and the livelihood of fishermen in the South China Sea.
Del Rosario described his successor, Jose Rene Almendras, as “a man who gets things done.”
“He will do an excellent job given that he is close to the President,” Del Rosario told reporters.
“We see that he will exercise sound judgment and he is a man able to get things done,” Del Rosario said of Almendras, who has also served as energy secretary.
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