- DFA Secretary Yasay turned down China’s invitation for a bilateral talk to discuss the disputed West Philippine Sea
- China wanted a discussion about the disputed territories but demands that the Philippines disregard the recent ruling of the arbitral court of the Hague
- Yasay rejected the proposal because it's against national interest
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said on Tuesday that the Philippines has turned down China's proposal of bilateral talks under the condition that the former would disregard the arbitral ruling on the disputed territories.
Just days ago, the international arbitral court of the Hague ruled on the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines. The case, which had been filed by the Philippines, claims complete ownership of the disputed seas.
In relation to this, Yasay said that he had met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the Asian and European Leaders Summit (ASEM) last weekend and after bringing up the topic, he sensed that his remarks are not welcomed.
(Photo credit: philstar)
"They said if you will insist on the ruling, discussing it along those lines, then we might be headed for a confrontation," Yasay said in an interview.
Yasay said that China is open for a bilateral talk, but with a condition that it should only be about issues ‘outside the recent ruling’.
This he declined immediately because according to him, this is against the national interest. The 497-page court decision laid out the Philippines’ extent as to its maritime rights and that China has indeed violated these rights, including the massive destruction of coral reefs.
According to Yasay, the country's priority right now is to ask the Chinese to allow Filipino fishermen to go to Scarborough Shoal without the threat of harassment by Chinese coast guards. When this is already taken cared of, the complex step-by-step ruling will be imposed next.
"We are not yet engaged in bilateral talks with anyone," Yasay said, "But I would like to see how we can pursue certain provisional arrangements so that it would lead to the opening of bilateral or multilateral engagements should that be necessary."
After the recent arbitral ruling turned to be unfavorable, the Chinese had remained in the territory. Up to this day, China contends that the high court has no jurisdiction to try the case in the first place, repeatedly saying that it will not change its approach regarding the sovereignty claims over the said islands and seas.
Despite the Philippines’ attempt to push for a diplomatic dialogue with China, the Chinese government remains unwilling to cooperate.
Yasay, in his statement, said that he is hoping that this ruling will lead to a united Southeast Asia, possibly with the neighboring countries issuing a joint statement regarding the dispute. - Kami Media