Panelo on PH arbitration case vs China: Who will enforce it?
For now, the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that validated the Philippines’ claims on the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea is “useless as there is no country or body on earth that can enforce” it against China.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this on Tuesday in response to a survey showing opposition of Filipinos on the government’s inaction on China’s intrusion in the disputed areas, which coincides with the two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the country.
“The Arbitral ruling cannot be taken away from us. It will be there forever but meanwhile, who will enforce it? There is no power on earth presently that can practically enforce it,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, stressed that even the United Nations is not enforcing the ruling and the United States, which was the Philippines’ long-time ally, is “adamant in doing it too.”
Asked if the ruling is useless, Panelo said: “As of now, yes.”
However, Panelo said President Duterte believes that “we can get things done through negotiations” with China.
China’s expansive claim includes parts of the West Philippine Sea, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated it in July 2016, favoring the Philippines’ claims in the area.
China has refused to recognize the ruling. Duterte, meanwhile, has chosen to set aside the ruling and engaged China in bilateral talks.
Chinese President Xi Jingpin arrived in the country shortly before noon on Tuesday for his two-day state visit.
Xi’s visit came amid the warming ties between Manila and Beijing after the two countries’ relations were strained during the Aquino administration with the maritime dispute in the South China Sea. /jpv
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