• No concessions to Beijing, says Solicitor General

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    The Philippines will not surrender anything to China even as Manila continues to find ways for the implementation of the ruling of an international arbitral tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s claims to almost the entire West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Solicitor General Jose Calida said on Friday.

    The UN-backed tribunal ruled on Tuesday that China has no historical rights to the disputed areas it claims based on its nine-dash line. Beijing said it will not honor the tribunal’s decision.

    Calida made it clear that there will be no concessions to China.

    “We value the award given by the [tribunal], and the Philippines will not concede any of the awards given to us,” he said.

    “That is our baseline, you saw the map, that is to be respected,” Calida added.

    With the ruling, he said, China should leave the area so that Filipinos can go back to their fishing grounds at Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal).

    The top government lawyer added that despite China’s hard stance that it will not respect
    the ruling, the Philippines will employ diplomatic means to convince China to accept the ruling.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., according to Calida, will also articulate the Philippines’ position to world leaders.

    “We will use diplomacy. I believe this is the most peaceful way of settling this,” he said, adding that President Rodrigo Duterte had set no timeframe for achieving results.

    “We will be patient of course and hopefully China will show the same grace that we have shown,” the Solicitor General said.

    China’s nine-dash line overlaps with waters also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

    China had built artificial islands atop seven reefs in the area, inflicting severe environmental damage, the tribunal said.

    Former President Fidel Ramos on Thursday was tapped by Duterte to lead bilateral peace talks with Beijing.

    End dispute

    The European Union meanwhile urged China and the Philippines to settle peacefully their dispute over the South China Sea but stopped short of pushing Beijing to abide by the international tribunal’s ruling.

    The watered-down statement, which came after days of arguments among member states, did not follow the lead of the United States in specifically calling on China to honor the decision by the UN-backed tribunal in The Hague.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the bloc’s member states “acknowledge” the ruling but said the EU does not take a position on sovereignty rows.

    She added that the union “expresses the need for the parties to the dispute to resolve it through peaceful means, to clarify their claims and pursue them in respect and in accordance with international law.”

    “The EU calls upon the parties concerned to address remaining and further related issues through negotiations and other peaceful means and refrain from activities likely to raise tensions,” Mogherini said.

    The statement came after days of wrangling over wording as eastern EU countries, including Slovenia and Croatia which also have territorial disputes before the tribunal, diplomats said.

    “Two member states (Croatia, Slovenia) have a principle problem with arbitration judgments,” an EU diplomat told journalists on condition of anonymity.

    “It is a difficult balancing act. We have a legal position, but on the other hand we need China for a whole bunch of other topics,” he added.

    China asserts sovereignty over almost all of the strategically vital waters, despite rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbors, most notably the Philippines.

    The row has embroiled the United States, which has deployed aircraft carriers and a host of other vessels to assert freedom of navigation in the waters — through which a third of the global oil trade passes.

    The US put itself on a collision course with China on Tuesday when it described the ruling as “final and legally binding.”

    Other channels

    Malacañang also on Friday said it will explore other diplomatic channels to finally put to rest the sea dispute with China, in case Ramos turns down an “offer” for him to be the country’s envoy for such mission.

    “I suppose there are other ways of doing it [like]diplomatic channels,” said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella in a briefing with Palace reporters.

    Abella added that Yasay will issue the government’s “official response” to the ruling handed down by the UN arbitral court in The Netherlands.

    He said Ramos was “referred to” by Duterte as the man who can do the job of repairing strained ties between Manila and Beijing because the former leader is a “wise statesman.”
    Ramos did not categorically decline the offer but stated that he may be “too old” for the job.

    WITH JOEL M. SY EGCO AND AFP

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    11 Comments

    1. As this is happening duterte should continue afp modernization so we can inflict some casualties to China if they decide to fire at us.

    2. Solicitor General Jose Calida seems to have pre-empted the President of Philippines in making the strongest statement ever by any top Filipino official after the ruling.

      He is muddling waters for Rody who on one hand acted most coolly and unprovocative. The President seem to be making all the right moves by immediately recommending Ramos to be the envoy to China.

      Let, and give time for, the President to reflect and make the necessary statements.

      Calida should not grandstand.

    3. Dapat tanungin si Duterte bakit atat na atat siya na makipapg-usap sa China. Ano ba ang dahilan. Makg-isip muna, baka naman may pera na naman dyan na involve.

      Since the PCA ,ITLOS ruling, the ball now rest in China’s court. They are now illegally occupiying the mishcief reef, and preventing the fisherman in Panatag shoal.

      This is a time or Duterter to think, hindi puro yabang, kailangan talino. Hindi pwedeng Bobong Presidented na kagaya nya. Kung hindi nya alam ,magatanong sya sa mga experto. Hindi pwede yabang nya, otherwise, his Presidency will be short lived.

    4. citizenhongkong on

      The International Court of Justice (ICJ) wishes to draw the attention of the media and the public to the fact that the Award in the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China) was issued by an Arbitral Tribunal acting with the secretarial assistance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). The relevant information can be found on the PCA’s website (www.pca-cpa.org). The ICJ, which is a totally distinct institution, has had no involvement in the above mentioned case and, for that reason, there is no information about it on the ICJ’s website.

      The above statement clearly clarified that PCA is not a Court Institution set up under UN.

      • Whatever you san, decision has been made, live with it and move on. Let us play like a great lawyer. The great lawyers have spoken and no way you challenge them unless you are better than them. Whatever you say is mooth and academic, no sense ,move on and dont complicate like t because of greediness.

      • Correct, it is set up by the 1907 Hague Convention, which is older than the UN and which China signed.

      • Marzan Rodesan on

        That is your biased opinion since you are practically depending the greedy and illegal act committed by the chinese leaders as you are part of china.

    5. Dont think Ramos is fit for the job. In fact it was during his time that Chinese made incursion in the Mischief Reef and nothing happens afterward except the grounding of one of our ship in the nearby island.

      Rudy should take a slow and reflective approach and get the best brains to handle this matter.Multi-pronged strategys is important such the diplomatic approach through direct discussion and possibly through UN. Exert all avenues for face saving but firm stand on the UN decision, respect the philippine constitution against joint development within our EEZ. Miltiary approach comes when all diplomatic approach ae exhausted. Military approach means inviting the US and Japan and other state to support in implementing the UNCLOS decision. Milirty approach means, asking Chinese Coast Guard to get out of Philippine EEZ in Panatag Shoal, if possible escorting these Coast guard ships out of Philippine EEZ at the backdrop of US Navy ships. Knowing that our EEZ are caler and specific,request US to activate to Mutual Defense Treaty in the event the Ph Coast Guards and Navy are attache Chinese during the process of escorting the Chinese Ships.

      It has to be a multi-pronged but firmed approach without any concession with China. Its about time to show to Chinese government that we prepared to fight for what belongs to us.

    6. Patriot does not have boundary nor limit as to gender and age. Mr President Duterte by ddefinition is a patriot who is willing to lay down his honor, his life and position for the love of his country. Why can you also do that Mr President Ramos besides being the mentor of President Dutertte and always in the limelight in every events. If you do what Mr .President is asking you to do for the sake of our beloved country you are not only an honorable and good soldie and following order from the commander you are also considered a rare breed of patriot who is also willing to defend and die for our beloved Pilipinas. Go for it Mr President Ramos even to the last meaningful day of your life. Mabuhay ka Sir.

    7. Predident Ramos together with Justice Carpio and Secretary Yasay would be a formidable task group to negotiate with Chna. Good decision President Duterte!