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PH won’t engage China in word war

The Philippine government has refused to engage in a word war with China over the territorial claims in the South China, saying it prefers to wait for the decision of the UN-backed tribunal on its arbitration case.

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said it was “inappropriate” to engage in an argument with other parties pending the resolution of the case.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier accused the Philippines of political provocation for bringing an arbitration case before the Hague-based tribunal. Wang claimed that Manila’s action was irresponsible to the Filipino people and the future of the country.

“The PH government respects the independence of the processes of the tribunal,” Coloma said, reacting to Wang’s statement.

“Hence, we deem it inappropriate to engage other parties in argumentative discussion while we await the outcome of our petition before the tribunal,” Coloma added.

The Philippines earlier filed a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration asserting its maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea amid China’s baseless and unlawful claims in the territory.

China, however, has refused to participate in the proceedings, insisting it prefers to settle the dispute bilaterally.

The tribunal is expected to issue its decision this May.

President Aquino earlier called on China to respect international law by abiding by the ruling of the PCA on the territorial dispute. Aquino, in his recent visit to United States, has warned of “chaos” in the region if concerned parties do not abide by the decision of the tribunal.

He explained that the Philippines decided to resolve the maritime dispute through peaceful and legal means “in belief that in law, everybody is equal.”

“My nation has resolved to accept whatever decision the Arbitral Tribunal makes, and we are hopeful that our neighbor – who has constantly reiterated their respect for international law – will in time do the same,” he said.

“I, along with my people, am hoping for a favorable outcome as regards arbitration,” he added.