Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday rejected calls to bring up the landmark arbitration ruling on the South China Sea (SCS) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this September 2020.
Locsin posited that raising the award would only turn Manila’s win into a “question of numbers”.
“We won it already, why would you want to relitigate something that you won? It’s like you don’t like you won? It doesn’t make sense so I rejected it,” he said during the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) briefing.
Locsin noted that China can reject the decision as a matter of “opinion” but the fact remains that Manila won and that the law is on its side.
“We won, we don’t need to go back to the UN. You bring it back to the UN and it becomes a question of numbers. And this has nothing to do with numbers, it has to do with law. Law is eternal, the rest is opinion,” he noted.
Former DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario earlier urged the Duterte administration to raise the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling, saying it would be an “opportune moment” because the theme of the 75th session of the UNGA in September is focused on commitment to multilateralism.
The South China Sea where the Paracel Islands and Spratlys are located is contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and China, which claims almost 80 percent of the waters under its so-called “nine-dash line”.
In 2016, the PCA invalidated this vast Chinese claims, a decision described by Locsin as a “milestone in the corpus of international law” and “cornerstone of a rules-based regional and international order.” PNA.GOV.PH