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Phl won’t back down on arbitration case vs China

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - There is no backing down when it comes to the Philippines’ arbitration case before the United Nations to clarify maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, Malacañang stressed yesterday amid reports that China would still not participate in the process.

“We’ve noted the position that China has taken on the matter of arbitration that has been filed by us,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing.

However, Valte said the government wishes to remind everyone that the Philippine position is clearly contained and reiterated in the memorial that has been submitted to the tribunal last March.

She said she would defer to the Department of Foreign Affairs as to the next steps that the Philippines would take “assuming that the other party does not submit their memorial to the tribunal.”

China denounced the Philippines for putting it under pressure with an international arbitration case over disputed waters and refused again to participate a week ahead of a deadline to respond.

In a position paper, China outlined its arguments against the jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to take up the case filed by the Philippines last year that could have implications on Beijing’s claims over nearly all of the South China Sea.

“Its underlying goal is not to seek peaceful resolution of the South China Sea issue but rather, by resorting to arbitration, to put political pressure on China, so as to deny China’s lawful rights in the South China Sea through the so-called ‘interpretation or application’ of the convention,” China’s foreign ministry said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. It has a dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.

China has long rejected arbitration, insisting it would resolve disputes bilaterally. The tribunal has given China until Dec. 15 to reply.

 

ABIGAIL VALTE

ARBITRATION

CHINA

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

EAST CHINA SEA

MALAYSIA AND BRUNEI

PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION

SOUTH CHINA SEA

UNITED NATIONS

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