By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
August 30, 2019
The reported agreement on having a joint commission or committee, co-chaired by the Chinese foreign minister and by the Philippine foreign secretary, to deal with the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas resources in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines should be presented to and scrutinized by the Filipino people.
Why the co-chairmanship over something owned exclusively by the Philippines, which ought to hire an exploration and development company that does not belong to a country which refuses to respect the final judgment of the Permanent Arbitration Commission under the UNCLOS?
The Filipino people should be alert to the high probability of Duterte betraying them by selling out their sovereign rights in exchange for the high interest loans and overpriced infrastructure agreements that make the Philippines a debt colony of China.
Duterte raises Hague ruling but China won’t budge
Published August 30, 2019 1:09am
Updated August 30, 2019 6:45am
By JOSEPH MORONG, GMA News
President Rodrigo Duterte did raise the arbitral ruling invalidating China’s expansive nine-dash line claim but China is not budging, informed diplomatic sources say.
President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping held bilateral talks yesterday at the State Guesthouse in Beijing but the source said the two also had a one-on-one meeting with some senior officials present.
In the meeting described as friendly and cordial, the two exchanged views and talked just like old friends.
It was during the meeting that the President brought up the Hague ruling. In response, Xi explained the Chinese position. China does not recognize the award and did not participate in the arbitration proceedings.
In the end, the two leaders agreed to disagree.
“The two agreed to disagree and move on to cooperation on oil and gas cooperation and the COC (code of conduct) negotiations,” the source said.
Malacanang has said before that the time has come for the President to raise the ruling which favored the Philippines with Xi halfway into the Duterte administration.
In 2016, upon assuming office, President Duterte had urged a “soft-landing approach” with regard to the arbitral award.
In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Duterte was “steadfast in raising with President Xi concerns central to the Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), which include the ruling held by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. He said that the arbitral award is final, binding and not subject to appeal.”
“In response, President Xi reiterated his government’s position of not recognizing the arbitral ruling as well as not budging from its position,” Panelo added.
Panelo explained that Duterte and Xi agreed that “while their variant positions will have to remain, their differences however need not derail nor diminish the amity between the two countries.”
“They shared the view that the contentious issue is not the sum total of the Philippines-Chinese bilateral relationship. They likewise are on the same page on the belief that the foundation and future of their countries’ friendship cannot be anchored to their respective positions on the subject, and that the basis of their ties is their centuries old friendship as well as the benefits that will redound to their peoples by virtue of their cooperation.”
Nevertheless, Panelo said both leaders agreed to work together “on the basis of mutual trust and good faith, to manage the South China Sea issue, and to continue to dialogue peacefully in resolving the conflict.”
They also agreed on the “importance of self-restraint and respect for freedom of navigation in – and overflight above – the South China Sea.”
CODE OF CONDUCT IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
Duterte also mentioned the crafting of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, saying that the Code would “contribute in the resolution of numerous conflicts in the disputed areas of the South China Sea.”
Xi said the Code should be crafted within the remaining years of the Duterte administration.
On the possible joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea, President Xi said a steering committee was created and has been taked to prepare a “substantive program on the matter.”
RECTO BANK INCIDENT
Panelo said President Duterte took note of the fact that “the China side has recognized and confirmed the responsibility of the Chinese fishing crew.”
“He expressed appreciation of China’s readiness to provide compensation to our fishermen who almost lost their lives.
Both countries also exchanged agreements on cooperative measures and assistance in the key areas of education, science and technology and economic development.
Overall, the President said his eighth meeting with Xi “went very well,” according to Panelo.
“The President’s activities on the second day of his official visit here in China are a reflection of continued good faith and warm friendship between the two presidents, and undoubtedly, a testament to the enhanced and enduring bond between the Philippines and China,” the Palace spokesman said.
After Xi, Duterte will be holding talks with Premier Li Keqiang on Friday and Vice President Wang Qishan on Saturday.
The President will also watch the opening ceremony of the 2019 FIBA World Cup and the game between the men’s national basketball team Gilas Pilipinas and Italy.
Duterte will wrap up his fifth visit to China on Sunday. — with Virgil Lopez/BAP, GMA News