Duterte 'will talk' sea dispute issue on China visit

Philippine leader says there won’t be ‘bargaining’ on country’s claims in resource-rich sea on upcoming visit to Beijing

Duterte 'will talk' sea dispute issue on China visit

World Bulletin / News Desk

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed Sunday that he will raise the issue of disputes over the South China Sea during an upcoming visit to Beijing.

He told reporters in southern Davao City that he would bring up a July ruling by a Hague-based arbitration court in favor of the Philippines in its petition against China's "nine-dash line" claim on a large part of the sea -- which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.

"We will stick to our claim. We do not bargain anything there. We continue to insist that that's ours and that the international tribunal decision will be taken up. But there will be no hard impositions," GMA quoted him as saying.

"We will talk but maybe paraphrase everything in the [arbitral] judgment and set the limits of our territories," he added before flying to Brunei, where he will pay a state visit ahead of a trip to China.

Since winning the May 9 election, Duterte has expressed willingness to open the Philippines to alliances with China while pursuing an “independent foreign policy” in terms of relations with the country’s long-time ally the United States.

On Sunday, he underlined that Manila and Beijing could only settle the sea dispute through two methods -- "[either] we go to trouble or we talk. We cannot choose the path there in between."

He vowed to insist on the country's 12 nautical mile territorial sea and 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, and acknowledged that conceding on the country's sovereignty would be “an impeachable offense”.

Duterte’s China visit -- scheduled for Oct. 19-21 -- is the first by a Philippine president since 2011.

Beijing claims around 90 percent of the resource-rich sea despite other Asian counties considering some of its waters, islands and reefs as their territory.

In July, the international tribunal in The Hague said fishermen from the Philippines had traditional fishing rights in the Scarborough Shoal, in the east of the sea, but China had interfered with these rights by restricting access. Beijing declared the court's award "null and void".

Last Mod: 16 Ekim 2016, 13:49
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