China rejection of arbitral ruling on South China Sea stays – envoy
MANILA, Philippines — Even if President Rodrigo Duterte asserts the July 2016 landmark arbitral ruling on the South China Sea during his fifth visit to China later this month, China’s position will remain the same.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua stressed this Friday, citing that China has been opposing the ruling even before the decision that favored the territorial rights of the Philippines in the disputed waters came out.
“We expressed that we will not accept it. We will not recognize that. That remains. Our position has not changed and we will not be changed,” Zhao told reporters in a chance interview.
Duterte has earlier confirmed he will raise the issue when he visits China this August.
But he said he will make sure not to provoke China in mentioning the ruling that invalidated China’s nine-dash-line claim that covers almost the entire South China Sea, including in the West Philippine Sea.
For Zhao, the overlapping claims between China and the Philippines in the disputed waters is only one percent of the diplomatic relationship between the two countries.
“We should focus on the things that will benefit our common development, that will benefit the peoples of the two countries,” he said.
Zhao also said China would not insist more share than the Philippines’ on the oil and gas resources in the West Philippine Sea.
China is proposing a 60-40 split – favoring Manila – in the oil resources that would be found in the West Philippine Sea.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Manila and Beijing concerning oil and gas exploration during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines last year.