Duterte: PH arbitral win vs China ‘cannot be ignored by any country’
MANILA, Philippines — The 2016 arbitral award invalidating China’s aggressive claim over vast parts of the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, “cannot be ignored by any country, no matter how powerful it is.”
This was President Rodrigo Duterte’s message during his intervention at the 37th ASEAN Summit plenary on Thursday, according to his spokesman Harry Roque.
Roque said Duterte reiterated his call for a “peaceful” resolution in the South China Sea dispute during the virtual meeting of Southeast Asian leaders.
“Inulit po ng Presidente na ninanais ng Pilipinas na magkaroon ng isang peaceful resolution itong issue na ito at inaasahan po niya na sa lalong madaling panhon mabubuo na ‘yung Code of Conduct,” Roque said in a televised press brefing.
(The President reiterated that the Philippines wants a peaceful resolution on this issue and he hopes that the Code of Conduct will be finalized as soon as possible.)
“Pero isa rin sa mga sinabi ni President, and I quote, pagdating po doon a 2016 arbitral award, ito daw po ay isang ‘authoritative interpretation of the application of UNCLOS… and is now part of International law and this cannot be ignored by any country, no matter how powerful it is’,” he added.
(But one of the things that the President also said is that I quote, when it comes to the 2016 arbitral award, he said that it is an”authoritative interpretation of the application of UNCLOS… and is now part of International law and this cannot be ignored by any country, no matter how powerful it is.)
He continued: “Nanawagan pa rin ang ating Presidente ng isang mapayapang solusyon dito nga po sa South China Sea.”
(Our President still called for the peaceful solution in the South China Sea dispute.)
This mirrors Duterte’s strongly-worded speech at the United Nations General Assembly last September where he described the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague as “beyond compromise.”
China has been pushing for its expansive claims in the South China Sea, refusing to recognize the ruling that invalidated its ambitious nine-dash line that practically covers the entire body of water.
Duterte upon assumption to the presidency opted to shelve the historic PCA ruling in exchange for Chinese economic perks to help fund his administration’s infrastructure projects even as the Asian powerhouse continues its military activities within the Philippine territory.
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