MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario said on Friday, December 7, that the Duterte administration should seek a United Nations resolution asking China to follow the Hague ruling on the Philippines’ rights over the West Philippine Sea.
“The Philippines should seek a resolution from the United Nations General Assembly to ask China to abide by the arbitral ruling,” Del Rosario said during the Pilipinas Conference organized by Stratbase and the Albert del Rosario Institute on Friday.
Even the act of Chinese President Xi Jinping raising the possibility of war with the Philippines during his meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte can be considered a violation of the Hague ruling, said the Philippines’ former top diplomat. It was Duterte himself who bared details of Xi’s war threat.
The Duterte administration shouldn’t let China get away with this behavior, said Del Rosario.
“Violations should be protested as these are hard-earned gains of the Filipino obtained from the outcome of the tribunal,” he said.
Del Rosario also called on the government to promote and support multilateral platforms for diplomacy, like the UN.
Rather than shun the UN, the Philippines should embrace it, he said.
“Attacks against the multilateralism symbolized in the United Nations are not in our favor. The United Nations and other international organizations give developing countries like the Philippines a forum where their views can be heard and where they can combine their numbers to really help shape global outcomes,” he said.
“At the present time, when the world order seems to be fracturing, we should reform the United Nations, not wreck it,” he added.
Duterte has consistently slammed the UN and its officials. He unilaterally withdrew the Philippines from the UN’s International Criminal Court, publicly insulted and threatened UN rapporteurs and its former human rights commissioner. Early in his presidency, he “joked” that he would withdraw the Philippines from the UN itself.
Del Rosario also alluded to Duterte’s portrayal of the West Philippine Sea conflict as having only two options: friendship with China or war against China. (Duterte: 'Remain meek, humble' to get 'mercy' of China's Xi)
“To pursue an independent foreign policy should not be a zero-sum game. It is not a simple choice between war or peace but about initiating new friendships and strengthening old ones in the spirit of sovereign equality,” he said.
Experts have pointed to the example of Vietnam, a country that continues to assert its claims in the South China Sea against Beijing but with which it enjoys vibrant economic exchanges. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.