PH ‘agrees to disagree’ on China’s non-compliance with 2016 arbitral ruling
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will “agree to disagree” on China’s rejection of the country’s appeal for compliance with the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated the latter’s claim to the South China Sea, Malacañang said Tuesday.
China insisted that the international ruling was “illegal and invalid” after Foreign Affiars Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. called on the former to respect the arbitral award.
“Unang una po, talagang hindi tayo nagkakasundo sa bansang Tsina tungkol sa arbitral award na yan… Pero let’s just say that we will agree to disagree,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.
(First of all, we really do not agree with China about this arbitral award. But let’s say we will agree to disagree.)
But while both nations disagree on the matter, Roque said the country’s relations with China concerning the economy and trade will still continue.
“Meanwhile, itong disagreement natin na ito ay hindi dahilan at hindi naman po ito ang sumatutal ng ating relasyon sa Tsina. We will proceed, isusulong natin ang puwede nating isulong sa ating pagkakaibigan sa Tsina, yung mga bagay bagay na may relasyon sa ekonomiya at sa kalakal,” Roque said.
(Meanwhile, this disagreement does not sum up our relations with China. We will proceed with what we can continue with our friendship with China, like those concerning the economy and trade.)
“Isasantabi po muna natin yung mga bagay na hindi mapagkasunduan kasama na po itong territorial dispute na ito,” he went on.
(We will set aside other things that we do not agree on, which includes this territorial dispute.)
China has consistently refused to acknowledge the 2016 ruling of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague which invalidated its claim in the entire South China Sea.
Speaking before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations last month, President Rodrigo Duterte called on all parties involved in the South China Sea dispute to abide by international laws and avoid “escalating tension.”