A Change of Guard

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Friday, 15 July 2016

Philippines calls on Beijing to respect South China Sea ruling in strongest statement yet


by Asian Correspondent Staff | 14th July 2016


In this image from 2014, a Chinese Coast Guard ship attempts to block a Philippine government vessel as the latter tries to enter Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. Pic: AP.
In this image from 2014, a Chinese Coast Guard ship attempts to block a Philippine government vessel as the latter tries to enter Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. Pic: AP.



In this image from 2014, a Chinese Coast Guard ship attempts to block a Philippine government vessel as the latter tries to enter Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. Pic: AP.


THE Philippines has called on China to respect an international tribunal’s rejection of its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea earlier this week.

Philippines Foreign Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. will raise the issue at an Asia-Europe summit to be held in Mongolia on Friday and Saturday, according to a statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“Secretary Yasay will discuss… the Philippines peaceful and rules-based approach on the South China Sea and the need for parties to respect the recent decision of the Arbitral Tribunal,” the department’s statement said on Thursday.




This is the strongest statement yet to come from Manila after the ruling was delivered Tuesday.

It added that Yasay, Jr. “will have bilateral meetings with his counterparts to exchange views on matters affecting bilateral relations and common concerns on global and regional issues.”

The Hague Tribunal ruled that China breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights by exploring resources in the South China Sea behind the “nine-dash-line”, also blaming Beijing for causing permanent, irreparable harm to Spratlys’ coral reef eco-system.

Protesters display placards during a rally outside of the Chinese Consulate in Manila ahead of Tuesday's ruling. Pic: AP.
Protesters display placards during a rally outside of the Chinese Consulate in Manila ahead of Tuesday’s ruling. Pic: AP.


The Chinese government immediately rejected the ruling, saying Beijing does not accept the jurisdiction of the panel.

China “solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (Asem) in Mongolia will be the first major diplomatic gathering since the ruling, and the first time the Philippines’ new President Rodrigo Duterte will be represented on the world stage.

SEE ALSO: South China Sea ruling pivotal for rule of law in Asia, says US official

China has already said the ruling should not be discussed at the Asem summit.

“It should not be put on the agenda,” Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou told Reuters, as reported by the BBC.

While the Philippines will have plenty of supporters at the summit, the Association of Southeast Nations has failed to deliver a unified statement of support for the ruling.

While some member states have welcomed the decision, it was reported Thursday that plans for a joint ASEAN statement had been abandoned. Some analysts have said the absence of a united stance on the issue could heighten tensions within the 10-member bloc.

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