- In the post-arbitral ruling awarding the Exclusive Economic Zone of the West Philippine Sea to the Philippines, the Philippines remain wary of China
- President Duterte, in an effort to make advancements on China and West Philippine Sea claims, has asked FVR to be the special envoy to China
- FVR refused to make a definitive comment dismissing the offer as a joke
President Rodrigo Duterte, on Thursday, July 14, had asked former President Fidel V. Ramos to head the negotiations with China following the arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines’ maritime claims over the West Philippine Sea.
“I would like to respectfully ask (Ramos) to go to China and start the talks,” Duterte said during the testimonial dinner at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City.
In the gathering which was hosted by the president’s fellow alumni from the San Beda College, Duterte had also said that he will need to consult many people to avoid creating bigger problems not only for the Philippines, but for other countries as well. He also clarified that “war is not an option” when dealing with China.
"War? It is not an option. So what is the other side? Peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithals now, I have to consult many people, including (former) President Ramos," Duterte said.
He also explained the complications of the post-arbitral situation of the Philippines by saying that complications may arise especially if China insists on a space domain.
"You know, there are a lot of complications there. Because now that the tribunal has ruled, 'yung arbitral decision says that, and if China would insist on a space domain, that you have to identify yourself before you can cross that vast sea there. America will not like it," Duterte added.
"Alam mo 'pag nagsara 'yan [air space and sea lanes], lahat 'yan tataas, because even the insurance of the cargo and the boats, tataas. It would create another problem for our economy and somebody else's finances. So, careful tayo diyan," he added.
(You know, if the air space and sea lanes closed, all rate will increase, even the insurance of the cargo and the boats. It would create another problem for our economy and somebody else's finances . So, we have to be careful there.)
Ramos, on the other hand, refuse to make a definitive comment regarding the offer saying that the president may have meant it as a joke.
"I think he just made that in jest because I'm busy writing my legacy for you young people and China is only one of my areas of interest. I have not seen the offer. I was out of range when he said it," FVR added.