Tuesday, July 5, 2016

President Duterte on WPS dispute: 'We are not prepared to go to war'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 5): President Duterte on WPS dispute: 'We are not prepared to go to war'

In front of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) troops, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he will hold bilateral talks with China if the Philippines will get favorable ruling from international arbitral tribunal, saying the country is not prepared to go to war.

”If it is favorable to us, let’s talk. We are not prepared to go to war. War is a dirty word now but we will proceed accordingly after we shall have the copy of the arbitral judgment,” President Duterte said in his speech during the 69th PAF Anniversary at the Clark Air Base in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

The Philippines is waiting for the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations on the merit of the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China’s territorial claim at the WPS or South China Sea.

In 2013, the Philippines filed the arbitration case and the country won the first round of its legal battle when the arbitration court in The Hague ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case.

President Duterte has expressed optimism that the judgment of the international arbitration court will be in favor of the Philippines.

”If it is not, then we will accept it as part of a country which honors international commitment that is by the UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea),” the President said.

The new President said his administration will always decide for the greater interest of the country.

”In the meantime, let’s just be hopeful for that,” he said.

China has refused to recognize the Philippines’ decision to bring the WPS dispute to the international arbitral tribunal, flexing its muscles by going into massive reclamation in the area.

The WPS is also partly being claimed by Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan.


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