Duterte still to raise Hague ruling with Xi even if China insists it won’t change stance ? Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte would still bring up the arbitral ruling during his visit to China later this month to Chinese President Xi Jinping even if Beijing's envoy insisted that they would not recognize it, Malacanang said on Sunday.
In an interview by Radyo Inquirer, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it was the right of China not to budge on its position insofar as the award of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration was concerned.
"That is the position and right of China not to budge on their position. In the same way that it is our right not to budge in ours," he said.
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua on Friday said China has not changed its position of not recognizing the Hague ruling, invalidating Beijing's historic and sovereign claim in almost the entire South China Sea through its nine-dash line.
But Panelo said Duterte would still raise the issue when he meets Xi.
"There is nothing wrong if he will raise the issue. There is nothing wrong if he will say 'what can we do regarding the ruling by the international court, I know you don't recognize it but let's discuss it,'" Panelo explained.
He said the matter could be settled through a friendlier method of discussion.
"I have said this before, maybe what we can't get through invoking can be attained through discussion," he said.
"There is difference in something you assert as a matter of right or principle and something that is discussed between two friends," he added. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS