MANILA, June 27 (Reuters) – Incoming Philippine PresidentRodrigo Duterte said on Monday he won’t comment about thecountry’s South China Sea dispute with China until after anarbitration court has made its ruling.
In 2013, Manila went to the Permanent Court of Arbitrationin The Hague seeking to clarify its economic entitlements underthe UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and declare void China’sso-called “nine-dash line” claim on the South China Sea.
“We will wait for the decision before I make any publicstatement,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City, where he wasmayor for 22 years.
“We are just waiting for the arbitral judgment. Let’s notbother that issue. I have to talk with everybody in thegovernment, especially the military.”
Duterte’s statement was in line with outgoing PresidentBenigno Aquino’s policy to de-escalate tension with China byavoiding any provocative comments until after The Hague deliversa ruling in the coming weeks.
During the campaign, Duterte said he would ride a jet skiand plant a Philippine flag on one of the seven man-made islandsChina had built in the Spratly to dramatise Manila’s claim.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about$5 trillion worth of trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia,the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims. Beijingmarks a “nine-dash line” on maps to show its delineate itsclaim.
Last week, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice AntonioCarpio said the tribunal may hand down a ruling in the firstweek of July. (Reporting by Manuel Mogato and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing byNick Macfie)
- Singapore International News
- South China Sea
- Rodrigo Duterte