Duterte questions China: Is it right for a country to claim the whole ocean?
TOKYO – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday questioned China’s sweeping claims in the disputed South China Sea as he urged the completion of the code of conduct in the disputed waterway.
“I love China; it has helped us a bit. But it behooves upon us to ask: Is it right for a country to claim the whole ocean? Only just leave the high seas as it was during the old days of international law,” Duterte said in a speech at the Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia.
Members of the Southeast Asian Nations and China are currently in talks to complete a sea code to settle disputes in the hotly contested South China Sea.
“I am sad and bewildered, not angry because I cannot do anything but I just hope that China will come up with conduct of the seas soon,” Duterte said.
The President said he wanted the sea code to be completed soon, citing that the South China Sea “is always a flashpoint for trouble.”
He said the United States should not meddle in the talks on the South China Sea as “nothing will happen” if they would join the discussion.
“Somebody should reach out to the United States because if you leave it to them to talk, nothing will happen. There is so much animosity covered by talking about how they desire to have an agreement,” he said.
“But there has to be somebody, not identified with any country that China does not like because there will never be a sort of an America, China talking seriously about territories. It will just end up in a shouting match,” he added.
The Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in The Hague in July 2016, which invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims to almost all of the South China Sea. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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