Duterte hopeful UN court will favor Manila

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CLARK AIR BASE, Pampanga: President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed optimism that an international tribunal will rule in favor of the Philippines in its historic case filed against China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

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“We remain optimistic that the judgment will be in our favor,” Duterte said in a speech during the 69th Philippine Air Force anniversary on Tuesday.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, The Netherlands, is set to announce its ruling on the case on July 12.

Duterte said favorable or not, the Philippine government will accept the arbitral court’s decision.

“We will accept it as part of a country who honors international commitments that is by the Unclos [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea],” the President added.

He reiterated that the Philippines will not go to war because it cannot afford to do so.

“Let’s talk. We are not prepared to go to war. War is a dirty word now but we will proceed accordingly after we shall have the copy of the arbitral judgment,” the President said.

“We will always decide for the greater interest of the country,” he added.

Armed conflict
Also on Tuesday, Beijing was urged to prepare for “military confrontation” in the South China Sea as it began naval drills in the area ahead of the international tribunal’s ruling over the maritime dispute.

China asserts sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich strategic waterway despite rival claims from Southeast Asian neighbors — raising tensions with the United States, which has key defense treaties with many allies in the region.

Also on Tuesday, China began a week of naval exercises in waters around the Paracel Islands.

The exercises come a week before the United Nations-backed tribunal in The Hague rules on a case brought by the Philippines challenging China’s position.

Beijing has boycotted hearings and is engaged in a major diplomatic and publicity drive to try to delegitimize the process.

In an editorial, Global Times — a newspaper owned by the People’s Daily group that often takes a nationalistic tone — said China should accelerate the build-up of its defense capabilities and “must be prepared for any military confrontation.”

“Even though China cannot keep up with the US militarily in the short-term, it should be able to let the US pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force,” it added.

In recent years, Beijing had rapidly built up reefs and outcrops into artificial islands with facilities capable of military use.

Manila lodged its suit against Beijing in early 2013, saying that after 17 years of negotiations it had exhausted all political and diplomatic avenues to settle the dispute.

The arbitration case had been orchestrated by the Philippines and the US to portray China as “an outcast from a rules-based international community,” said an editorial in China Daily.

The newspaper, which is published by the government, added, “It is naive to expect China to swallow the bitter pill of humiliation.”

WITH AFP

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3 Comments

  1. Stop dreaming. The PH cannot win the case because the 9 dash line pertains to delimitation or ownership claimed by China which is beyond the authority of the tribunal to rulle . Nothing else matters because they all fall within the 9 dash lline .

  2. Our government should also open up their eyes on China’s mining occupation of the Philippines.
    http://globalnation.inquirer.net/59379/chinas-mining-occupation-of-the-philippines
    As the Asia Sentinel reported on November 12, 2012 (“China’s Filipino Gold Rush”), “With an estimated US$1 trillion in untapped mineral resources in the Philippines, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Chinese mining companies, many of them operating illegally, have been exporting gold, nickel and other precious minerals out through the island country’s porous coastal ports, where there are no customs officials and plenty of bribable officials to turn their eyes the other way.”
    If China will ignore the UN court ruling, the “Philippine government should retaliate by shutting down all nickel exports to China, and all the Chinese mining companies in the Philippines.”

  3. Matino na Pinoy on

    Yes Mr. President, The U.N. Court will eventually favor Manila and you should not be negotiating with the Chinese nor compromising with them. Do not take anything less, and let them know that you mean business. Let them also know (Chinese), that they may leave the Islets that belonged to the Filipino fishermen and clear the International Waters for “Freedom of Navigation”. If the Chinese still arrogant not to give what the U.N. Court ruled on, call the U.S. to come on sail to the West Pacific once again, to show their support to the countries intimidated by the Chinese. This is the whole truth about the Chinese; that they cannot afford to engage militarily with the U.S., because everybody should know it by now that China has only one (1) rebuilt aircraft carrier and it is not a good bet for them to confront U.S. Navy because they may run out of luck. Normally, when U.S. Navy is operating in South Pacific, Chinese Navy goes into hiding, and sometimes they refer it as in hibernation state.