By: Elena Grace Flores
China announced after the ruling at the Hague which favored the Philippines – that their territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards bestowed to Filipinos. They vowed to oppose and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards. However, they are lenient on the freedom of navigation and overflight issues and that China was ready to keep resolving the disputes peacefully through talks with the concerned countries. The Chinese are now inclined to pursue talks with the Philippines.
However, Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte,who is noted for his unpredictability is now under close watch as to what his next moves in the next few days will be. That would be the basis on how the United Nations would respond to China’s stubborness in rejecting the decission. On the other hand, the President Duterte is reminded that the decision on whether or not to share resources for a peaceful solution is not an exclusive decision to be made by the executive because that would entail sharing of national territory. The executive has no sole jurisdiction over it. Congress must concur either in the form of a treaty ratification on the part of the Senate or to create a new law to accommodate the issue.
Beijing has the support of Russia and Saudi Arabia but has also garnered backing from smaller African nations like Niger and Lesotho, as well as Palestine, Afghanistan and Togo. Vanuatu, a Pacific island nation of fewer than 300,000 citizens, also supports Beijing. The Philippines has been backed by the US, UK, France, Japan and others – but change could happen if Duterte will decide to engage on a joint exploration of resources with China. A very critical issue as far as the neighboring countries and America are concerned – who has been against that notion from the start. Thereby, starting talks with Vietnam should Philippines shot them off for whatever reason as the Philippine President showed indifference towards the U.S. based on his terrorism remarks – accusing the United States of importing insurgencies into their country by declaring war with Iraq that killed its leader, Saddam Hussein over human rights violations measured by U.N.