Palace on sea dispute: Negotiation is best non-war option

THE long-standing disputes between the Philippines and China over the resource-rich South China Sea can be "best" resolved through diplomatic negotiations, Malacañang said on Monday, July 15.

For now, President Rodrigo Duterte thinks talking to China is the "best" option, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

"Basta sa ngayon ang Presidente, ang option niya ay 'yung pinakamahusay and that is negotiation, diplomatic negotiations. Wala nang ibang gaganda dun kasi ang kausap mo dun mismo yung supposed to be kaaway mo," the Palace official said in a press briefing.

(For now, the President’s best option is negotiation, diplomatic negotiations. That's the best thing to do because you're talking to the country that is is supposed to be your enemy.)

"Ayaw mo ngang awayin dahil baka magkaroon ng sigalot na makakadala ng panganib sa ating seguridad at sa buhay ng ating mga kababayan. 'Yun ang pinaka the best," he added.

(You do not want to be confrontational because it will only sow discord that could endanger the security and life of our fellow countrymen. That's the best option.)

Panelo made the remark after Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that Duterte can enforce Manila's legal win against China's extensive claims to the South China Sea without going to war.

On Sunday, July 14, Carpio suggested several ways to invoke the Permanent Court of Arbitration's July 12, 2016 ruling that favors the Philippines's petition against China's claim to South China Sea using its nine-dash line doctrine.

Carpio proposed "non-war" options as Duterte has repeatedly claimed that the Philippines "can never win a war against China."

Among the possible options enumerated by the senior magistrate were for the Philippines to enter into a convention with Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, which have competing claims over the South China Sea except Jakarta.

Carpio also said the Philippines can file an extended continental shelf claim in the West Philippine Sea beyond Manila's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Luzon, and patrol the busy waterway with 10 new 44-meter multi-role response vessels donated by Japan.

He added that Duterte should welcome and encourage freedom of navigation and overflight of naval powers like the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Japan, India and Canada in Philippine waters.

Carpio said the Philippines can also invite Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei to conduct joint freedom of navigation and overflight operations in their respective EEZs.

He likewise stressed the need for the Duterte government to support private sector initiatives to enforce the arbitral award.

Panelo said the Chief Executive had already considered all the options cited by Carpio, but the only solution that works is diplomatic negotiation with China.

"'Yung lahat ng options na 'yan, matagal nang kinunsidera ni Presidente 'yan eh. Hindi pa siya Presidente, napag-aralan na niya 'yan. Tatakbo kang Presidente dapat alam mo na lahat ng gagawin mo. Eh nakapili na nga siya eh, ito ang the best. And nakikita naman niyo ang nagiging resulta," he said.

(All those options were considered by the President before. He took all of those into consideration even when he was not yet the President. When you run for president, you should know what needs to be done. And he chose the diplomatic negotiation because he thinks that's the best. And you can see the results of the ongoing negotiations.)

"Pinili niya ang pinakamatalino, pinaka hindi mapanganib na solusyon. At kaya nga nagkaroon ng diplomatic relations eh, dadaan ang lahat ng sigalot lahat ng hindi pagkakaunawaan ng mga bansa sa pamamagitan ng pag uusap. At baka sakali sa pamamagitan ng komunikasyon ng dalawang bansa ay magkaroon ng solusyon ang ano mang hindi pagkakasunduan," he added.

(He chose the best and safest solution. And that's why we established diplomatic relations with China, to settle the misunderstanding through negotiations. And we're looking forward that the misunderstanding will be addressed through diplomatic negotiations.) (SunStar Philippines)


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