(Eagle News) — The Philippines and China “will agree to disagree” on the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated the Asian giant’s claims in some parts of the West Philippine Sea in favor of the Southeast Asian country.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement on Tuesday, July 14, a day after China called the ruling “invalid and illegal.”
“Unang una po, talagang hindi tayo nagkakasundo sa bansang Tsina tungkol sa arbitral award na yan… Pero let’s just say that we will agree to disagree,” Roque said.
According to Roque, the “disagreement,” however, does not represent the totality of relations between the Philippines and China, which means “we will proceed, isusulong natin ang puwede nating isulong sa ating pagkakaibigan sa Tsina, yung mga bagay bagay na may relasyon sa ekonomiya at sa kalakal.”
“They have been consistent in their position and so have we been,” Roque said.
On Sunday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. called on China to respect the ruling which invalidated China’s nine-dash line that the Asian giant uses to delineate its claims over parts of the West Philippine Sea.
“Compliance in good faith with the award would be consistent with the obligations of the Philippines and China under international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) to which both parties are signatories,” the Foreign Affairs secretary had said.
But in a statement the following day, the Chinese embassy said “China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea will under no circumstances be affected by this award.”
It took note instead of what it said was the “steady momentum” in relations between China and the Philippines, “with exchanges and cooperation in various fields making continuous progress.”
“This serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and contributes to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the embassy added.