Duterte unfazed over China’s firm stand vs arbitral ruling on S. China Sea
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte remains undaunted over China’s remarks that it would not recognize the July 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims over the disputed South China Sea, his spokesman said Monday.
Duterte is set to fly to Beijing on Wednesday for a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping where he is expected to raise the PCA decision that discredited China’s nine-dash line.
“The President said that regardless of what they want to hear or not, he will raise that. He said: ‘I will raise this. Whether they like it or not I have to raise it’,” Panelo told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
But Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua earlier told reporters that China would reject Duterte’s stand.
“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 said.
Panelo, however, insisted that Duterte would not be deterred from pressing the Philippines’ claims in the South China Sea despite Beijing’s rejection of The Hague ruling.
“Regardless of what their government’s response is, he will raise it,” he said.
Duterte, who has fostered a warm relationship with China since he assumed the presidency in June 2016, earlier said he would raise the United Nations-backed ruling even if it angers Xi.
Panelo, however, said he is hopeful that Xi would change his stance on the South China Sea after he listens to Duterte.
“‘Pag magkakaibigan kayo at kahit ‘yon ang posisyon mo at ‘yong isa ‘yon din ang posisyon, baka magbago ‘pag napakinggan. [Baka] mayroon kayo mapagkakasunduan,” he said.
(Even if that is your position if you are friends, and that is also [China’s] position, it might change after they have listened [to Duterte]. You might agree to something.)
Duterte’s visit to China this week is his fifth time. /kga
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