Palace: Diplomatic negotiations still ‘best’ option for resolving sea dispute
MANILA, Philippines — Diplomatic negotiations remain the “best” option for resolving Manila’s maritime dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea, Malacañang said Monday.
“Still the best, iyong negotiation pa rin, iyon pa rin ang number one. Mag-uusap tayo (The best is still negotiations. Let’s talk),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo issued the statement as he dismissed the six suggestions of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for enforcing the 2016 Hague ruling.
“Basta sa ngayon, ang Presidente, ang option niya ay iyong pinakamahusay; and that is negotiation, diplomatic negotiations. Wala nang ibang gaganda roon kasi ang kausap mo roon ay mismo iyong supposed to be na kaaway mo,” he said.
(As of now, the President’s best option is negotiation, diplomatic negotiations. There’s nothing better than that because you are talking to your supposed enemy.)
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the President had studied the options presented by Carpio.
“Iyong lahat na options na iyon, matagal nang kinunsider noon pa ni Presidente iyan eh. Hindi pa siya Presidente, napag-aralan niya na iyan. Dahil alam mo, kapag tatakbo kang presidente, dapat alam mo na lahat ng gagawin mo,” he said.
(The President has long considered those six options. He already considered that even if he wasn’t the President yet. Because you know, if you are going to run for President you know what you need to do.)
Panelo said Duterte has chosen the “least dangerous” option, which is diplomatic negotiation.
“At kaya nga nagkaroon nga ng tinatawag na diplomatic relations eh, idadaan ang lahat ng sigalot, lahat ng hindi pagkakaunawaan ng mga bansa sa pamamagitan ng pag-uusap. At baka sakali sa pamamagitan ng komunikasyon ng dalawang bansa ay magkaroon ng solusyon ang anumang hindi pagkakasunduan,” he added.
(There is such as a thing as diplomatic relations so that misunderstanding among countries can be resolved through discussions. It is much better to solve conflict through communication.)
In 2016, the Philippines sealed a historic win after the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal at The Hague favored Manila’s diplomatic protest and invalidtaed Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
But since he assumed the presidency in June 2016, Duterte has set aside the ruling and engaged China in bilateral negotiations. /ee
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