By: Elena Grace Flores
China’s announcement that negotiations with Philippines are already done for bilateral talks once they ignore the U.N.’s Tribunal ruling from the Hague on July 12 was not clear. It did not elaborate if it includes financial negotiations to stop President Rodrigo Duterte’s mouth with their bullying in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea that affected the livelihood of Filipino fishermen or just exchange deals for the Deuterium exploration on those areas known to be rich in such deposits. Whatever the case may be, Philippine’s ignoring the Tribunal would be a betrayal to Unclos or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
It was reported during Duterte’s presidential campaign which he publicly admitted that he did not see any reason not to negotiate with China since they have the technology and the country has the resources. If that is the case, Philippines will not only be betraying the Unclos but also the United States of America who allegedly happens not to agree with the Philippine-China joint Deuterium exploration with no apparent reason given.
China initially was already angered by the Philippine’s protesting the case through the Tribunal when both can conduct a peaceful bilateral talks and was also surprised by the US’s actions of defending the maritime navigational passageways along the South China Sea to preserve the freedom of maritime navigation – despite their substantial financial or monetary loan from China. Nevertheless, more actions can be confirmed after the July 12 ruling so, for now it’s a wait and see game.