PH has strong case vs China in territorial dispute, says Palace spokesman


Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

ZURICH – The Philippines is confident it has a strong case to win the international arbitration case challenging China’s claim to most of the South China Sea.

“What this says to the world is that the Philippines believes that when all is said and done, law and reason will prevail over brute force,” Communications Secretary Ramon “Ricky” Carandang said in a briefing to visiting Philippine media before heading to Davos for the World Economic Forum annual meetings.

“We are taking this to the international mechanism for resolving this kind of disputes. It is a testament to our belief, our faith that we are countries that are conducting ourselves, again, through with reason and through the rule of law rather than through brute force,” he said.

The Philippine authorities have long talked about taking this step and finally decided to go for it. “And we’re confident that we will make the case about the disputes and that we will win this case on the merits,” Carandang said.

By taking this step, Carandang said the Philippines was giving China a “chance” to “prove to the world” that it could participate in a mechanism for an orderly resolution.

Asked about a potential scenario of China refusing to participate in the arbitration case, Carandang said: “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there but as signatories to Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), there should be no reason why they don’t.”

As to whether the Philippines could take a potential backlash from China, now the second largest economy in the world next to the United States, Carandang said that while the Philippines has taken this case to arbitration, it would like to tell China its preference for a rules-based system to resolve the dispute. “Again, going to the courts means strengthening that mechanism of the rules of law, and we think that it would be good for everybody who has an interest in the South China China to watch and to participate in this. So we encourage China to participate in this process,” he said.

Whether or not the Philippines gets support from different countries, the international community would want to know what it’s doing, according to Carandang.  “And, I think, at the end of the day, this is gonna be a legal argument so, it’s more important that we make the right arguments to the arbitration committee than it is to get, say, political support. But certainly, the international community seems to support our positions, particularly with regard to Scarborough Shoal and Reed Bank, which have long been considered territories belonging to the Philippines,” he said.

Carandang said there’s no head count of states supportive of the Philippine position but explained that every country that has expressed support for freedom of navigation in these waters was effectively supporting a rules-based mechanism for resolving disputes.

“We’re not saying that you have to say that Scarborough (Shoal) and Recto Bank are ours, although certainly, they are ours, and if any country wants to agree with us, we welcome them. But what we’re saying is, and what many countries have said is that they would like to see a rules-based mechanism for resolving these issues. So it’s not as if, you come in here, you occupy something and then you push everybody around. Everybody wants to see these disputes resolve in an orderly, peaceful, and legal manner. And anyone who says that, is basically supporting the position of the Philippines,” he said.

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  • Ralph Ryan

    Come on China. Prove it to the World. 

  • Edgardo Mendoza

    chinese goverment is a big LIAR chinese goverment is a terrorist in ASIA!

  • dikoy321

    Views from Germany:

    Good Job Philippines !

    Even if China refuses to respond to this RP action going to the UN Tribunal, this first Step is already a WIN  for the Philippines !

    China loses if they REFUSE a rules-based, peaceful step towards an agreement !

    Sila ang mawawalan ng pag-mumukha !  (China will lose FACE !)

    And if China still digs deep on our shoals/islands, we should be prepared to go the next step, indicated below:

    Japan leads with US help, plus India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines … and SINK China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoming !Japan can expand its maritime influence in the region, streghtening their Navy!  The Indian Navy can also frequent the waters in this region, even visiting the West Philippine Sea !Philippines can accept the Japanes donation of those faster Coast Guard vessels, 15 in number, right?If that aircraft carrier Liaoming becomes active inside “Lake Beijing” (no such thing yet, but God forbid), pity the small neighbors like the Philippines !With US backing and support, Japan SINKS Liaoming, then destroy China’s advance aircraft and fighter jets on the ground !If the PLA’s airforce is decimated, China will BEHAVE !This is not as simple as what is mentioned above, but one way to make China FOLLOW/RESPECT International treaties (UNCLOS) .A lot of sacrifice for our small country, but we Filipinos, MUST be willing and ready for the supreme sacrifice !Forward Philippines !!!

    • DakuAkongUtin

      Hoy Kawatan , meyron bang kawatan na mag succeed ? Kahit ilang kawatan kayo hindi kayo makakuha kahit isang drop of langis sa South China Sea. China will defend its right of sovereignty from dirty thieves in the last 500 yrs .

  • joboni96

    huwag mayabang

    nose to the grindstone
    until victory

    and watch out for
    intsik switik resbak

    secure kalayaan islands and eez

    pag gumalaw sila ng isa
    bawiin mischief

    tuloy pagpalakas ng depensa

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