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Duterte eyes setting aside 2016 arbitral ruling for economic gains



President Duterte is considering setting aside the 2016 Hague ruling on the South China Sea to enable more economic gains for the Philippines.

Duterte said that Chinese President Xi Jinping promised that the Philippines would have 60 percent of whatever would be found in the disputed waters in a joint exploration.

“Set aside your claim. Then allow everybody connected with the Chinese companies. They want to explore and if there is something,” Duterte said Tuesday. “Sabi nila, ‘We would be gracious enough to give you 60 percent.” Forty lang ang kanila. That is the promise of Xi Jinping,” he added.

The President said that this would include the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone since it was part of the Hague ruling. Duterte raised with Xi the Philippines’ claims to the West Philippine Sea based on the arbitral ruling during his working visit to Beijing, China.

“Kasi ‘yang exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity,” Duterte said.

However, Duterte said that this does not mean that the Philippines is conceding its claim in the disputed waters.

“No. You cannot – you cannot abandon the ruling. Nandiyan ‘yan. Pero how to – how to claim back that property because of the arbitral ruling – the only way to retake is to declare war. Go there and sink all their ships,” he said.

Duterte admitted that he was not satisfied with Xi’s response when he raised the arbitral ruling during their bilateral meeting in Beijing.

However, he said he did not insist on it because he knew Xi had a lot in mind, particularly the protests in Hong Kong. (Argyll Geducos)