THE Philippines should not provoke China to use force to settle its maritime dispute with the Philippines even if Manila’s right over the West Philippine Sea had been upheld by the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in the Hague, former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad said on Saturday.
“The nine-dash line has no legal basis. They can’t claim it on the basis of history,” Tatad said.
However, he said the Philippine government should take the path of diplomacy so as not to further rile Beijing which was infuriated by the court’s ruling.
“What we could do is to make sure that China is not provoked into using force to resolve this issue,” Tatad said. “We won, but if we don’t boast about the ruling, we may arrive to better results.”
He said the Philippines is not along in finding efforts to make China accept the ruling since the United States and the European Union are also stepping up their efforts to convince China to honor the verdict.
Former journalist Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, chief of the American Broadcasting Company’s bureau in Beijing, is optimistic that the two parties will settle the issue.
Sta. Romana said the next step should be to talk with Beijing.
“They do not want to get outlawed so this is one of our advantages,” he said.
“We could consider filing charges as a back-up plan, but if we file before having direct talks, nothing will happen,” he said during a forum held in Quezon City.
He added that China is looking to recoup from the ruling through bilateral talks.
“I think it is just right that our country remains discreet. We already won, would we still want to provoke them? What we need to do is to tame them so they won’t defy the international law,” he said.