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DFA nixes move to bring sea row ruling to UN

/ 05:10 AM July 23, 2020

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday rejected the appeal of former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario to raise the arbitral ruling that the Philippines won against China four years ago before the UN General Assembly in September.

“My reaction then was exactly the same as now. We won it already, why would you want to relitigate something that you won?” Locsin said in an online news conference.

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“It doesn’t make any sense so I rejected [Del Rosaro’s suggestion],” said Locsin, who was permanent representative to the UN office in New York City before he was appointed to his current post in October 2018.

193 UN member states

Leaders of 193 member states, including the Philippines, will take part in the 75th UN General Assembly, which opens on Sept. 15.

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On the fourth anniversary of the July 12, 2016 arbitral ruling that dismissed China’s claims in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea, Del Rosario urged President Duterte to raise the issue before the global community.

“This is when we will rely on the UN General Assembly to serve as not only the primary promoter of the rule of law but also the court of world public opinion,” said Del Rosario, who served as President Benigno Aquino III’s foreign secretary.

‘Nonnegotiable’

Locsin, who marked the award’s anniversary by calling the arbitral ruling “nonnegotiable” and urging China to comply with it, said bringing the case to the United Nations “is a question of numbers” which the Philippines does not have.

“Put it to a vote? China has all the votes in the UN. This suggestion to bring the arbitral ruling to the UN proves conclusively that we have a serious drug problem in the Philippines. Even [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] rejected it when we won. Malaysia tried to sabotage it. We were alone. US ignored it,” Locsin tweeted a couple of hours after the news conference.

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