MALACAÑANG on Thursday shrugged off China’s accusation that the Philippines is testing the mainland’s “resolve to fight,” stressing that Manila’s primary objective in filing a “memorial” with the International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea (Itlos) is to get “maritime entitlement” over its territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. explained that China’s refusal to participate in the arbitration does not worry them because nobody can dictate on China.
“Our primary objective is to prove our claims over that part of the West Philippines Sea [South China Sea] based on exiting [international]laws. That law is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [Unclos],” Coloma replied when asked to comment on China’s claim that the Philippines is only
Even without the participation of Beijing, Coloma said that the decision of Itlos in favor of the Philippines will further bolster its claim over the islets and shoals. Likewise, he explained that other countries will also benefit from these “maritime entitlements.”
“These are called maritime entitlements under the UNCLOS. That is why our primary intention is not to compel a country or countries but to show to the world the reason and justice of our claim,” the Palace official explained.
Coloma also stressed that the Philippine government never intended to throw its weight around when it questioned before Itlos China’s nine-dash line territorial rule.
“It is not within our power to tell China what it should do. Our power is with regard to securing our national interest,” he said.
He maintained that the government has not abandoned diplomacy and other peaceful means such as back-channel talks to end the disputes.
“Our belief is that we must exhaust all peaceful means of relating with other countries. We are committed to the pursuit of diplomacy and peaceful settlement of issues in our international relations, in our foreign relations,” he pointed out.