The ruling of the United Nations-backed arbitration court favoring the Philippines’ territorial case against China was a “fair” and “monumental” decision that puts the long-running dispute closer to reaching “a permanent solution,” former President Aquino said yesterday.
Although he is elated by the decision, the former President said the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the South China Sea arbitration must be viewed as a “victory for all” and not just for the Philippines.
“At this point, may I suggest that instead of viewing this decision as a victory of one party over another, the best way to look at this judgment is that it is a victory for all. I say this because the clarity rendered now establishes better conditions that enable countries to engage each other, bearing in mind their duties and rights within a context that espouses equality and amity,” Aquino said in a statement.
“Let us bear in mind: Where there is conflict over claims and opinions, cooperation cannot exist. Now that the rules are even clearer, we can all move forward as a global community. Without doubt, this long-running dispute is now closer to having a permanent solution,” he added.
Last Tuesday, the arbitration tribunal rejected China’s claims to areas in the South China Sea, saying it has no historic rights over the areas falling within the supposed “nine-dash line.” The decision favoring the Philippines was immediately welcomed by the Duterte government officials and other sectors.
It was the Aquino administration that filed the case before The Hague-based arbitration court to assert the country’s maritime entitlements amid the aggressive territorial claims made by China in the West Philippine Sea. Manila argued that China’s intrusion over the area is invalid under international law. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)