Politics, World, Asia - Pacific

Philippines rejects advice on South China Sea row

‘We are a sovereign nation. We will decide what is good for us,’ Foreign Secretary Cayetano says

10.08.2017
Philippines rejects advice on South China Sea row MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 05: Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Philippines Alan Peter Cayetano makes opening the speech of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Manila, Philippines on August 05, 2017. ( Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency )

Zamboanga

By Roy Ramos

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines

Manila rejected advice from the U.S., Japan and Australia on Wednesday to abide by the ruling of an international tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.

"We expect nations not to tell us what to do," Foreign Secretary said at a news conference.

"Japan, Australia, and the U.S. are our friends. The U.S. is our treaty ally. But we have told all countries around the world: We are a sovereign nation. We will decide what is good for us, what strategy is good for us, because we are a sovereign nation,” he added.

Cayetano’s statement came in response to a trilateral strategic dialogue ministerial joint statement released by foreign ministers Rex Tillerson of the U.S., Taro Kono of Japan and Julie Bishop of Australia last Monday that “called on China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal's 2016 Award in the Philippines-China arbitration, as it is final and legally binding on both parties".

While Manila values its relationship with the three countries, Cayetano urged them not to meddle with the country’s maritime dispute with China because “the problem of territorial disputes between China and the Philippines is between China and the Philippines".

Cayetano said the Philippines renounced the inclusion of the words “land reclamations” and “non-militarization” of China in the disputed waters, as stated in the joint communique released by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration concluded last year that Beijing's claims to areas of the resource-rich sea have no legal basis in an arbitration launched by the Philippines, whose “sovereign rights” it said China had violated.

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