2 senators urge government to bring China 'threat' before UN

Kristian Javier - Philstar.com
2 senators urge government to bring China 'threat' before UN

Senators Lacson and Drilon urged the Philippine government to bring China's threat before the United Nations. Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Monday that China's supposed threat that there will be war if the Philippines insists on "forcing the issue" on the South China Sea should be brought to the United Nations.
"The matter should be brought to the attention of the United Nations. After all, we're basing our claims dun sa arbitral ruling and malinaw naman yun sa ruling, sinabi, sa atin yun," Lacson told reporters in an interview on Monday.
He added that President Rodrigo Duterte did not make a mistake claiming the West Philippines Sea for the Philippines since it has basis.
The statement came after Duterte claimed that China President Xi Jinping warned of war after he brought up an arbitral tribunal ruling favorable to the Philippines in its maritime dispute with the Asian giant.
"I said it is ours and I will drill the oil. And I tell them, do not do it because it is ours. But I have the arbitral ruling. But they said that if you force the issue, we will go to war," Duterte said at the 33rd national convention of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary in Davao City last Friday.
Duterte and Xi met last week when the Philippine president went to Beijing for the Belt and Road Forum.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, a former senator, has played down the supposed threat, saying the remark was said in the context of encouraging dialogue on the issue. The Philippines and China have begun bilateral talks on the maritime dispute.
Lacson said that with the "military might" of China, the Philippines will be facing a great threat.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also called on the government to "elevate" the threat to the UN.
In a statement on Monday, Drilon said that the government should not take the threat lightly, saying that it is "a gross violation" of the United Nations’ Charter.
"We should stand up to China. We should not allow our country to be bullied and threatened," Drilon said.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said over the weekend that the Philippines can bring the supposed threat before the UN General Assembly or the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He warned that the Philippines "cannot simply do nothing, or worse, acquiesce to China’s action, for inaction is the opposite of protecting Philippine EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).” 
Carpio has been advocating getting international support to bolster the Philippine claim over the West Philippines Sea — the part of the South China Sea within the country's exclusive economic zone — and to pressure China to acknowledge the arbitral tribunal.
Duterte has opted not to push China on the ruling but has said the Philippines is not setting aside its claim.

Roque: China can veto resolutions

Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque said however that Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio should not give "false hope" that the United Nations will be able to resolve China's threat.
"I agree that China’s alleged threat, if true, is a violation of the United Nations Charter. But while we can certainly go to the UN to seek peaceful solutions pertaining to the West Philippine Sea dispute, but we also have to consider that fact that we will probably not get relief there as China will certainly veto any resolution we file in the UN General Assembly," Roque said in a statement on Monday.
Roque said that while all threats of war are within the cognizance of the UN Security Council, China still has veto vote being a permanent member of the council.
The UN Security Council is composed of 15 countries, including the Permanent Five: China, United States, United Kingdom, France, and Russia.
"If a permanent member does not fully agree with a proposed resolution but does not wish to cast a veto, it may choose to abstain, thus allowing the resolution to be adopted if it obtains the required number of nine favorable votes," Roque said.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio first brought the idea of bringing the issue of China's threat to the United Nations General Assembly.
In a statement on Saturday, Carpio said that the Philippines should sponsor a resolution to condemn China's threat of war and demand China to comply with the ruling of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
"The Philippine Constitution mandates that the 'State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its exclusive economic zone.' Since the Philippines has renounced war as an instrument of national policy, the president has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine EEZ," Carpio said.


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