(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, June 21, vowed to discuss the South China Sea dispute in the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Thailand.
“Can you claim a whole ocean? Because nobody can prevent America from claiming a third of the Pacific Ocean,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao.
He was referring to China’s expansive claim over the South China Sea through the so-called nine-dash line.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled China had no historic rights to the disputed waters as it claimed, but China refused to abide by the ruling.
President Duterte, during whose time Philippine relations with China became warmer, set aside the ruling, saying there was a proper time to raise the same.
Only recently though, the Department of Foreign Affairs filed a diplomatic protest against China after a Chinese vessel hit a Philippine fishing boat near Recto Bank, sank the boat, and abandoned its crew.
China has proposed a joint probe into the incident, but Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has refused.
“I will talk lengthily about it dito sa ASEAN. It’s not a matter of yung nine-dash line. Simple lang. Can you claim an ocean as your own? Tell me now because I will also claim mine,” Duterte said.