Aquino: PH should discuss arbitral ruling with China
After the country scored a legal victory in an international arbitral tribunal, former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said on Monday the government should discuss with Beijing how it intends to “recognize” the tribunal’s ruling.
Aquino told reporters that both the Philippines and China are signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (Unclos) “which says we have rights.”
“Perhaps, at the minimum, we should start talking about how China would recognize our rights,” Aquino said in Filipino.
It was during Aquino’s administration that the Philippines brought China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which rejected China’s so-called nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.
Through its nine-dash line, China claimed practically 90 percent of the resource rich sea that is also a major international trade route.
President Duterte, however, adopted a friendlier policy toward China, making the giant nation the Philippines’ number one diplomatic and trade ally.
Aquino, however, warned that the current administration should “be careful” with the loans it has entered with China.
“We might end up having a debt crisis. We hope our economic cluster studied this,” he said.
Aquino said his administration tried to reduce the country’s “vulnerability to China,” especially after the latter stopped the importation of bananas from the Philippines, among others.
He also said that in 2012, China reneged on an agreement that both the Philippine and Chinese navies would leave Scarborough Shoal, supposedly to end a standoff in the disputed area.
For his part, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said in a statement that “in this historic battle for the West Philippine Sea… the rule of law is the greatest weapon ever invented by man.”
“Armed only with this legal weapon, the Philippines won a resounding victory against China before an Unclos tribunal at The Hague. The battle for the West Philippine Sea is a call to Philippine legal warriors to do their duty to their country,” Carpio said.
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