Duterte affirms arbitral win vs China before UN: It’s now part of international law
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte affirmed on Wednesday the Philippines’ arbitral victory against China over the South China Sea before the United Nations General Assembly.
“The award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon,” he said in a speech that was pre-recorded at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse in Manila and aired early on Wednesday.
“We firmly reject attempts to undermine it,” he added.
He noted that the Philippines’ commitment in the disputed part of the South China Sea was in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Netherlands.
China has consistently refused to acknowledge the 2016 ruling that invalidated its claim in the entire South China Sea.
Its reclamation activities and militarization in the heavily contested area have also raised concerns over peace and stability in the region.
Meanwhile, the President also thanked the countries that backed the Philippines’ arbitral victory.
“We welcome the increasing number of states that have come in support of the award and what it stands for — the triumph of reason over rashness, of law over disorder, of amity over ambition. This — as it should — is the majesty of the law,” Duterte said.
Recently, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany rejected China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea through a joint note verbale submitted to the UN.
It was the Duterte’s first time to address the UN.
Duterte was the 12th speaker during the first block of high-level debates after leaders of the United States, Russia, China, and the Republic of Korea, among others.
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