China dismisses arbitral ruling anew; cites ‘agreement by our two presidents’

Image from Asia Nikkei
  • China rejected anew the arbitral ruling on the WPS which was handed in 2016 in favor of the Philippines
  • Chinese envoy to Manila said there has been an ‘agreement’ between Duterte and Xi to set aside differences
  • This comes after Duterte declared the country’s commitment to UNCLOS and the 2016 ruling with regards to territorial dispute

China once again rejected the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) which favors Manila over Beijing on the issue of the so-called ‘nine-dash line’ handed by The Hague international court in July 2016.

China’s statement came just days after President Rodrigo Duterte declares his government’s commitment to the WPS territorial dispute in accordance with the UNCLOS and the 2016 arbitral ruling.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian| Image from PNA

“The award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it,” Duterte told world leaders in his speech at the 75th UN General Assembly.

But China reiterated the president of both country has already agreed to set aside differences with regards to the West Philippine Sea.

“China’s position on the so-called arbitral ruling has been very clear: We do not accept and we do not recognize this so-called ruling. It has been agreed by our two presidents that we should close the old chapter and shelve differences,” said Chinese Ambassador Huang Xillian in a virtual forum organized by the Association for Philippines-China Understanding Inc., on Friday.

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The Chinese envoy added there has been a consensus among Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping to pursue bilateral consultation to put aside maritime disputes; hoping that the “sound momentum of our relations as guideposts to the way forward will be preserved and enhanced.”

“The South China Sea issue is only a small part of China-Philippine relations,” Huang said; noting that Duterte’s pronouncement before the UN will not affect the good relation between China and the Philippines.

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