Palace insists bilateral talks still best option as of the moment to resolve sea row with China
Malacanang expressed belief on Tuesday bilateral talks with China would still be the best track for the Philippines to resolve their territorial dispute dispute.
This was despite Chinese President Xi Jinping's statement during his bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte at the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last week, that they were not honoring the arbitral ruling, favoring the Philippines.
"Even if you insist on your side of your position, you can still argue and resolve mutually to both satisfaction, to both sides’ satisfaction on how to deal with that problem," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on the conflicting stance of the Philippines and China.
Asked if the government sees the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism, which the Philippines and China formed in 2017 to discuss issues affecting the two countries, is still the most effective way to solve the dispute, Panelo said, "Of course, yes. You don’t resolve the conflict by going to war or armed hostilities; it will not solve anything. In fact, all the conflicts in the world when not resolved by means of negotiations end up in armed hostilities."
But pressed if bringing the issue to the United Nations General Assembly was not an option yet, he said it would be better to talk first with China.
Some Filipino experts have urged the government to bring the issue before the UN.
Panelo said that it would still be up to Duterte if later on he would seek for other options, such as taking a multilateral approach through the UN.
"We will have to wait for the President. The President is the one (who) charts the foreign policy, that is his right and discretion. We cannot be preempting the President on this," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS