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Aquino to push UN arbitration in settling Spratlys row

President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

CALAMBA CITY, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino on Friday said the Philippines would insist on the settling of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute with China—brought by overlapping claims on the Spratly Islands—through arbitration by the United Nations.

“I think that is the only recourse open to us,” Aquino said referring to UN arbitration when asked about what the government intends to do after China rejected bringing the matter before the UN and insisted on a bilateral resolution of the issue.

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“You don’t go to China to ask them what the Philippines’ rights are as far as the West Philippine Sea is concerned,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario called in his meetings with senior officials in Beijing last week for the dispute to go before a UN tribunal, but China on Tuesday rejected the proposal.

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Del Rosario said China’s hesitation to accept Manila’s proposal could be due to Beijing’s inability “to validate their stated positions in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

The Philippines wants the dispute brought before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, an independent judicial body set up by the UN convention in 1982 to handle such matters.

The Philippines and Vietnam have in recent months accused China of taking increasingly aggressive actions in staking its claims in the disputed waters, including an incident where the Chinese allegedly fired on Filipino fishermen. With AFP

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino, China, Foreign affairs, government and politics, Philippines, South China Sea, Spratly Island, Spratlys, Territory, Vietnam, West Philippine Sea
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