The Philippines should not enter into bilateral talks with China, a former Philippine Foreign Affairs chief and U.S security expert told the Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Albert del Rosario, who served as the Foreign Minster under the administration of outgoing President Benigno Aquino, in a report by Reuters via the Straight Times, said the Philippines should await the decision of the international tribunal that hears the territorial dispute filed by the Philippines against China in 2013.
Del Rosario issued such unsolicited advice to the incoming president amid the latter’s earlier pronouncement that his administration is considering the possibility of holding bilateral talks with China since arbitration seemed not working. Del Rosario was one of those who lobbied and filed the territorial dispute before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013.
The case, in essence, pushes for territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation in one of the world’s most important maritime zones to which, $5 trillion worth of trade passes through each year.
“We must await the decision from (the tribunal) before we start talking to China because otherwise, the judges are going to think twice about what it is that we’re doing,” del Rosario was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Another U.S security expert and military academician, Ernest Bower said, for his part, the Philippines should be wary about holding ‘unconditional’ talks with China. Bower, however, said holding bilateral talks with China is fine only if China abandon it’s self-imposed nine-dash-line rule and commit to abide by the provisions of the UNCLOS to which, China is one of the signatory countries. Otherwise, there’s no point the Philippines should even consider talking with the Chinese.