Yasay discusses Philippines’ next step in sea dispute

Yasay discusses Philippines’ next step in sea dispute

- On behalf of Yasay, Undersecretary Enrique Manalo mentioned the Philippines’ readiness to engage with claimant states of the West Philippine Sea

- Yasay expressed his hope that the arbitral tribunal ruling which favored the Philippines against China will help future negotiations

- However, China refused to recognize the ruling and urged the Philippines not to mention it during their proposed bilateral talks

With the arbitration ruling as its guideline, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. announced the Philippine’s initiative to communicate with the other claimant states of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) to finally tackle the territorial dispute.

During the second Manila Conference on the South China Sea last Wednesday, Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo delivered Yasay’s remarks on the country’s continuing steps following the international ruling which favored the Philippines against China.

In the speech delivered by Manalo, he mentioned that the Philippines is ready to participate in all engagements which will help each concerned parties find ways to resolve the dispute.  Guided by the constitution, the country will seek out the nation’s interest during these discussions.

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Yasay discusses Philippines’ next step in sea dispute

The arbitral tribunal invalidated China’s ‘9-dash line’ claim last July 12. (Photo credit: theglobalist.com)

Yasay wasn’t present in the event at the Manila Hotel because of an urgent matter.

Last July 12, after three and a half years, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) concluded that there was no legal or historical basis for China to claim almost the entire West Philippine Sea included in their ‘9-dash line.’

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan are also laying claims on the body of water’s significant oil and gas deposits aside from the Philippines and China.

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Yasay discusses Philippines’ next step in sea dispute

Chinese coastguards continue to drive out Filipino fishermen from the Scarborough shoals despite it being a common fishing ground. (Photo credit: moderntribune.com)

The DFA secretary also advised all the countries involved to adhere to the set of rules and principles laid out by the international community.

China’s participation in these talks won’t be expected after they’ve refused to acknowledge the ruling and called for their people to prepare for a “people’s war at sea” given the raised tensions over the disputed islands.

The Philippines already rejected the earlier talks proposed by China when they proposed the ruling shouldn’t be mentioned at all in the bilateral negotiations.

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Yasay discusses Philippines’ next step in sea dispute

Secretary Yasay wasn’t able to attend the conference himself because of an urgent matter. (Photo credit: Rappler)

The DFA advised the Filipino fisherman to stay away from the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoals for now to avoid harassment from the Chinese military.

Aside from invalidating the ‘9-dash claim’ of China, the tribunal also mentioned in its ruling that China violated Philippines’ rights in its exclusive economic zone and in addition, damaged the environment.

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