Philippines won't abandon arbitral ruling, says Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte's administration will not abandon the ruling of the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal favoring the Philippines by declaring China's "historic" and "sovereign" claim in almost the entire South China Sea as invalid, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement after the Chinese Embassy in Manila insisted that the award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration was illegal and invalid.
"The decision won't be erased. And that decision under international law is evidence of the applicable customary norm. It is there as subsidiary's norm, subsidiary's source of international law," he said in a virtual press briefing.
"So, nothing will happen, that it won't be erased unless completely we say that we're abandoning it and we will never do that because the ruling was to our favor," Roque stressed.
The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines made its assertion after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., in a statement on Sunday, July 12, the fourth year anniversary of the PCA award, said that the ruling of the arbitral tribunal is non-negotiable.
US Secretary Mike Pompeo, in a recent statement, said that the world would not allow China to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.
He said that Beijing's claim to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, "as is its campaign of bullying to control them."
Roque, echoing Duterte's earlier statement, said the US and China would try to woo the Philippines to side with either of them.
"The great powers as they escalate their rivalry will woo us into their side, we will be sure that we will advance our national interest and meanwhile we want all parties involved to abide with the rule of law particularly with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," he said.
China has continued to refuse the arbitral ruling even if it is signatory to the UNCLOS.
The Palace official also underscored the need to come up and enforce the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea to prevent the tension.
But while there is a territorial dispute with China, Roque said the issue is not the sum total of the relationship of the two countries.
Duterte has taken a friendly stance with China and his government even forged a deal for a joint exploration in the South China Sea.
Aside from the Philippines and China, other Southeast Asian countries, such as Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan, have claims also either partially or wholly in the disputed waters. Celerina Monte/DMS