The nine (9) dash lines represent the wide expanse of West Philippine Sea being claimed by China
By Elami Go
MANILA – China has on Friday (25 September 2020) shoot down anew the Philippines’ lawful claim of the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea on the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s widely acclaimed virtual speech at the United Nations General Assembly Mainland China’s Ambassador to PH said.
In rejecting PRRD’s stirring speech that touched on the ticklish issue that is the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xillian said that this (dispute) was agreed upon by the two presidents claiming that ‘differences’ will be set aside.
Said Huang: “China’s position on the so-called arbitral ruling has been very clear: We do not accept and we do not recognize this so-called ruling. It has been agreed by our two presidents that we should close the old chapter and shelve differences.”
But despite the ruling and the strong assertion made by PRRD at the UNGA recently, this would not disrupt the friendship between China and the Philippines, claimed Huang.
“The South China Sea issue is only a small part of China-Philippine relations,” said Huang who also mentioned Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. statement last July.
He quoted Locsin as saying that the disagreement was a mere ‘pebble’ in the mutually beneficial economic progress of both countries.
In his speech before the UNGA, Duterte strongly asserted the Philippines victory over the South China Sea ruling which he claimed is part of the international law and cannot be compromised.
PRRD’s assertion was lauded even by his ardent critics on SCS in former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, and retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who led the fight at The Hague during Noynoy Aquino’s watch.
For his part, University of the Philippines (UP) Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea Director Jay Batongbacal reminded Filipinos that the government shall continue to back its statement with consistent actions in the future.
Batongbacal said that PRRD’s insistence on PH’s claim over the disputed territory may encourage other member states of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to form a unified stance against China’s aggressive actions.
According to a report by Daily Tribune, China has ever since been unwelcoming of the 2016 arbitral ruling which they still deemed to be ‘invalid’ and ‘illegal’ despite it being awarded by the international body of the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). (Elami Go)