Indonesia

Duterte to cite Hague ruling if China siphons off minerals

Paterno Esmaquel II
Duterte to cite Hague ruling if China siphons off minerals
'I cannot let it pass na balewala na lang,' Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says of the historic ruling over the West Philippine Sea

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, December 29, vowed to cite the historic Hague ruling over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) if China siphons off minerals from the seabed there.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Duterte said he would bring up the ruling “when the minerals are already being siphoned” off, which he described as “a question of money.”

If China does this, Duterte said he will tell the Asian superpower: “Wait a minute. I thought we’re friends. We share economic bounties. So how about us? We have this title.”

Shortly before this, CNN Philippines anchor Pinky Webb asked Duterte when he would bring up the ruling of an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, that invalidated China’s expansive claim over the West Philippine Sea. 

Duterte answered, “During my time.”

“I cannot let it pass na balewala na lang (like it was useless),” he explained.

Days before this, in an arrival speech in Davao City on December 16, Duterte said: “In the play of politics, now, I will set aside the arbitral ruling. I will not impose anything on China. Why? Because the politics here in Southeast Asia is changing.”

This comes as Duterte vows to move closer to China and away from its traditional ally, the US, which he slams for criticizing the Philippine government over alleged human rights abuses in his war against drugs. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.