Palace to China: Respect Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on Spratlys

1 week ago
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Pagasa island (Thitu Island) is a rock located in the Spratly Islands, which the Philippines first took possession of in 1974. (Photo courtesy of Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative)

(Eagle News)—Respect the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 ruling on the Spratlys.

The Palace had this to say to China, whose vessels have been spotted, based on reports, near several islands being claimed by the Philippines in the area.

“We reiterate our unchanged stance — the arbitral ruling is irreversible, the same being based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and international law accepted by most, if not by all, nations. It has the stamp of permanence,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo also expressed hope  “the mechanism of bilateral negotiations between the countries forge a mutually satisfactory solution to the conflict based on internationally accepted principles of justice and reciprocity, as well as anchored on the dictates of each national security and aspirations of their people.”

He said the government “never shelved” the decision, and  “it only remains unenforceable because no foreign force seems persuaded to help us enforce it, and neither do we have the capability of enforcing it alone by force, not to mention the fact that performing armed acts of enforcement could only trigger a bloody war that could cost the lives of our countrymen and destruction of properties in our land,” reacting to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s statement the decision should be enforced.

“Assuming that we have temporarily shelved it as we pursue trade relations with China, the fact of invoking the arbitral ruling in our latest statement as well as asserting our sovereignty on our territory and right over our exclusive economic zone in response to an official statement from the Chinese government reiterating its claim of ownership and sovereignty over the disputed areas, effectively removed it from the shelf by virtue of such invocation and assertion,” he added.

Panelo also rebuked Del Rosario, who he said “certainly cannot put forward his pretended patriotism and feigned righteousness as if he has not contributed vastly to the unwelcome situation we are presently in.”

He said Del Rosario was, after all, “responsible for the loss of the country’s possession of the Scarborough Shoal during his stint as Foreign Affairs Secretary by naively causing the withdrawal of our armed ship in the area of conflict..”

The 2016 ruling invalidated the nine-dash line that delineated China’s expansive claims in the West Philippine Sea, which included the Spratlys.

Upon his assumption of office, President Rodrigo Duterte opted to set aside the ruling, saying he would raise the same at the right time.

The Department of Foreign Affairs under Secretary Teddy Locsin filed a diplomatic protest over the presence of the Chinese vessels near Pag-Asa Island.

Panelo has said a similar protest would be filed if reports on the presence of Chinese vessels near Kota Island were also confirmed.

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National – Eagle News

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