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Duterte urged: Don't push joint exploration with China

President Rodrigo R. Duterte listens to members of the Cabinet during the second Cabinet meeting at the State Dining Room in Malacañan Palace on July 11. Presidential Photographers Division/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — An independent think tank warned President Rodrigo Duterte not to pursue joint development activities China following the ruling of a United Nations (UN) tribunal on the South China Sea dispute.

Trident Defense said that the Duterte administration should not casually consider joint exploration with China as it  may result in the recognition of its claims in the disputed sea.

"The Government and the Duterte Administration should realize the importance of what the Philippines has in terms of a binding ruling and any disservice to be done to Filipinos by not asserting our country’s rights under international law," Trident Defense said in its analysis issued Tuesday evening.

The think tank noted that final award serves as a victory for the country and as an affirmation of a rules-based approach to resolving the sea dispute.

READ: The verdict: Philippines wins arbitration case vs China
FULL TEXT: Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on Philippines case vs China

Trident Defense cited Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution which mandates that the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources is under the full control and supervision of the State.

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The Constitution also renounces war as an instrument of national policy but the think tank pointed out that the country should not allow itself to be prostituted by a foreign power.

"By preparing a red-carpet welcome for possible joint development activities with an encroaching neighbor, we are inviting ourselves to be screwed and taken advantage of," Trident Defense said.

Trident Defense President Toby Purisima noted that China has a history of not participating in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"Pinirmahan nila ang UNCLOS pero hindi nila sinuod. 'Di sila nag-participate sa dispute settlement mechanism na kasama sa UNCLOS," Purisima said.

Purisima called on the Duterte administration to craft a comprehensive foreign policy framework following the UN tribunal's ruling.

"We must challenge the Government and the Duterte Administration to formulate a national security strategy and work towards a credible defense posture for the Philippines," Purisima said.

Meanwhile, Trident Defense Chairman Rodrigo Mejia suggested that the Philippines should freeze communication with China for at least a year to show that the country is fighting as a nation.

"No talks with the Chinese for one year or two years... Freeze muna to show na matigas din tayo," Mejia said.

China has insisted that it has indisputable sovereignty over the disputed waters and that they refuse to accept the decision of the international tribunal.

RELATED: Think tank: China might occupy Scarborough, Ayungin after UN court ruling

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