• Don’t let China militarize disputed sea – PH envoy

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    PHILIPPINE Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. on Friday urged an American business group not to tolerate the unilateral activities of China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), noting that a “militarized and tension-gripped [sea]where the rule of the cannon prevails is not good for business.”

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    Speaking during the United States Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) meeting in Makati City (Metro Manila), Cuisia said the voice of business community is “just as powerful” as the diplomats, lawyers and military strategists working on avoiding military conflict.

    “I encourage Amcham to weigh in on the issue to ensure that business interests are protected. Sustained economic growth and economic prosperity are underpinned by political stability and no single country should be allowed to jeopardize the region’s peace and security,” the ambassador said.

    As China stressed that it does not recognize the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague in hearing the case filed by Manila against Beijing, Cuisia said it hopes that the international community will press China to respect the rule of law.

    “Many have asked me what will happen if China does not abide by the decision of the
    Tribunal. The Philippines maintains that by resorting to a recognized body under UNCLOS, whatever the outcome and whatever the action by the other party, judgments will create a political reality that is almost impossible to ignore. Having an impartial third party rule on a case holds weight because one side will have the backing of international law,” Cuisia said.

    He added, “The narrative that the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal must be binding on all parties must be stronger than other narratives, which are self-serving and have no basis in international law.”

    Cuisia underlined that the economic prosperity of US is closely linked to the Asia-Pacific region, as what US officials had always said. He noted that economic security can only be achieved if there is peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea.

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