China rejection of Hague ruling won’t stop Duterte from raising issue during visit
MANILA, Philippines — China’s continuous rejection of the arbitral ruling on the South China Sea will not stop President Rodrigo Duterte from raising the issue when he visits the Asian powerhouse country later this month.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this Sunday after Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said that China’s rejection of The Hague ruling remains.
“That is the position and right of China not to budge on their position. In the same way that it is our right not to budge in ours. Ganyan talaga ‘yan e. Pero that will not stop the President from raising the issue of the arbitral ruling,” Panelo said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer.
Panelo added that if “true friendship is present”, both parties should be open to any discussion.
“As I have repeatedly said noon pa sinasabi ko na, kaya nga tayo pumapasok sa friendly methods of settling differences which is negotiation… Baka yung hindi namin nakukuha sa pag-invoke nyan, e makuha natin sa pakikipag-usap,” Panelo said.
“Iba kasi ‘yung siang bagay na ina-assert mo as a matter of right or principle at iba yung napag-uusapan ng dalawang panig na magkakaibigan,” the Presidential spokesperson added.
Furthermore, Panelo said that there is nothing wrong with raising the issue to possibly settle the matter.
“Wala namang masama dun na i-raise niya ‘yung issue; ano ba naman ‘yung sabihin niya (Duterte), ‘Oo nga pala anong gagawin natin dito sa isang ruling na ginawa ng isang international court. Alam kong hindi mo ito kinikilala pero siguro pag-usapan pa rin natin baka magarna natin ng paraan,’” Panelo said.
Duterte earlier said that he would raise the issue on the arbitral ruling during his visit in China.
But Zhao said that China’s stand on the arbitral ruling stays.
“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.
In 2016, the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague favored the Philippines’ territorial claims, thus invalidating China’s claims to almost all of the West Philippine Sea. /je
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