PH lawyer confident of win vs China
MANILA, Philippines - An American lawyer for the Philippines is confident the country has the upper hand and will win over 'Big Brother" in its territorial dispute case against China.
In a story posted by Foreign Policy on Thursday, February 21, Paul Reichler said China will give in and accept that it is better to become a "responsible member of the international community."
"They're very smart people. And I think they might come to understand that in the long run their best interests are served by being a responsible member of the international community," Reichler told Foreign Policy.
Reichler also said it is unfortunate that China has refused to take part in the arbitration.
"They had an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the international legal order, to show respect for its procedures, and to agree to be bound by its rules. Had they seized this chance, they would have proven that they are not only a great power, but a responsible one," he said.
He added that whether or not China participates, it will be pressured to comply with the court ruling -- even if it was unfavorable.
"To me, China has always denounced imperialism, denounced unilateralism, has denounced violations of the UN Charter. This is an opportunity for China to really show its true colors," Reichler said.
The right track
On Wednesday, February 20, Malacañang said the Philippines was on the right track in seeking arbitration in the United Nations on its territorial row with China.
The government said the arbitration will continue, regardless of what China does. Even its decision to shun participation in the arbitration is not going to stop the process, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesperson Raul Hernandez said.
Over the past two years Manila has complained about Beijing's increasing assertiveness in enforcing its claims, particularly around areas believed to be rich in oil and natural gas reserves.
China's stance led to a standoff last year with the Philippines over rich fishing grounds around Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop much closer to the Philippine coast than to China's shores. - with a report from Cai Ordinario/Rappler.com