- Last Saturday, former President Fidel V. Ramos has been assigned as the special envoy to China regarding its dispute on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)
- Ramos has now called for a meeting with the National Security Council before facing the Chinese delegation
- The NSC will be convened on July 27 according to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon to talk about issues in security, law, foreign policy, and diplomacy
As the Philippines prepares for its bilateral talks with China, Former President Fidel V. Ramos said that the National Security Council should conduct a meeting and discussion before sending an envoy, such as himself, to negotiate with the delegation of Chinese officials on the issue of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The former president said that the Philippine delegation should consist of President Duterte himself and those of whom he will choose.
“There should be a National Security Council (meeting) first, so that the Philippine position can be defined by the group of Philippine leaders led by the President himself,” said Ramos during an interview with him last Saturday at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.
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Ramos regarded himself as a 'country elder', stating that he will be able to represent the Philippines but he needs to catch up on the most recent issues. On a positive note, Ramos said that he is still knowledgeable about the diplomatic issues of the two nations.
He also emphasized that the National Security Council should make the decisions first, especially the President and his national security adviser.
It was confirmed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon that the NSC will convene on July 27 at 3 p.m., which will gather four former presidents and experts in the fields of security, law, foreign policy, and diplomacy. The venue of the meeting is yet to be announced.
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Esperon further said that the Congress elects its own chairmen in the Committees on Defense and Security and on Peace and Order who will eventually become automatic members of the NSC.
Those who will sit in the NSC also include the Senate President, the House Speaker and their immediate predecessors. A prominent citizen will also be chosen by the President as a special invitee to the NSC meeting.
Meanwhile, former foreign affairs undersecretary for policy Lauro Baja, who is part of the key figures in the 2002 negotiation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-China Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea, stated that it will be a challenge for Ramos as the special envoy to establish a comfortable and confident atmosphere during the talks with China.
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However, Baja is still positive that Ramos has the 'stature and experience' and the vision to engage China on the issues to be able to overcome the challenge.
Baja added that the former president should prioritize the Scarborough Shoal, known as Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal in the Filipino language, in these upcoming talks since the Philippines has already plans for it and those are the nearest to us.
The Philippines raised that its claim over the Scarborough Shoal, which is known for the richness of its fishing grounds, is based the juridical criteria establish by international law. The shoal is within the 2oo-mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, based on the provisions set by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).
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On the other hand, it is not only the Philippine that is claiming the territories - both China and Taiwan are claiming that the disputed territory was discovered by Chinese people who engaged in fishing activities in the area centuries ago. China is firm on their nine-dash-line basis for claiming most parts of the South China Sea.
The recent ruling awarded by the Permanent Court of Arbitration said that the nine-dash-line claim of China has no legal basis and there is no evidence of China’s long-standing exclusive control over the waters and resources in the areas.
Also from the ruling, China violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines in its exclusive economic zone because they interfered with the fishing activities of the Philippines in Scarborough Shoal and petroleum exploration at Reed Bank.
Despite this, China does not consider the ruling to be acceptable and it considers the court as biased.-Kami Media
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