Locsin to ‘strongly’ recommend cutting ties with Chinese firms in SCS reclamation
MANILA, Philippines — Manila’s top diplomat on Friday said he would “strongly” recommend the termination of contracts between the government and companies involved in China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea (SCS).
The United States earlier announced sanctions and restrictions on two dozen Chinese companies and associated officials over their involvement in the building of artificial islands in the disputed waters.
“I’m not sure that any of those listed companies are among those that we are directly dealing with…If I find that any of those companies are doing business with us, then I would strongly recommend we terminate that relationship with that company,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
“If they are in any way involved in the reclamation, then it becomes consistent on our part to terminate any contract with them,” he added.
Locsin, however, cautioned that these Chinese companies could sue the Philippine government should it pushes through with the termination of contracts that are already entered into.
“Of course, since the contact is already entered into, they could sue us back,” he noted.
China has been pushing for its expansive claims in the South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.
In 2013, the Philippines filed a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in The Netherlands challenging China’s sweeping claim of nearly the entire South China Sea.
The Hague-based court then ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016 invalidating China’s nine-dash line.
China has repeatedly refused to recognize the ruling, continuing its aggression in the disputed waters and building artificial islands to house military facilities.
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