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Palace: China’s military occupation in SCS not a valid title of ownership

/ 04:10 PM September 24, 2020
Fiery Cross Kagitingan

Photo from the air shows construction activities undertaken by China on Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef), including an airstrip, in a disputed area in the South China Sea. The Philippines and China are among several countries disputing ownership of the reefs located on the Spratly Islands. PHOTO BY VICTOR ROBERT LEE AND DIGITALGLOBE

MANILA, Philippines — China’s military occupation of the disputed territories in the South China Sea (SCS) will “never ripen” into a valid title of ownership, Malacañang said Thursday.

According to Presidential spokesperson Roque, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claims has become part of international law that “cannot be erased.”

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This reflects the strongly-worded debut speech of President Rodrigo Duterte before the United Nations General Assembly where he described the 2016 arbitral ruling as “beyond compromise.”

“Nandiyan na ‘yang panalong ‘yan at hindi natin babalewalain. Kahit anong sabihin ng kahit sino na hindi nila kikilalanin ang desisyon na ‘yan, ang katotohanan I go back to Article 38 of the ICJ (International Court of Justice) charter, ‘yan po ay ebidensya ng existence of a customary norm at ‘yan po ay hindi na pupwedeng burahin,” Roque said in a televised Palace briefing.

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(That win is already there and we will not ignore it. Whatever anyone says that they will not recognize that decision, I go back to Article 38 of the ICJ (International Court of Justice) charter, that is evidence of the existence of a customary norm and that can no longer be erased.)

“So ang tinutukoy po diyan ng ating Presidente, kahit anong physical military occupation nila sa mga isla na ang sabi naman ng tribunal ay kabahagi ng ating exclusive economic zone, will never ripen into a valid legal title,” he added.

(So what our President is referring to is that whatever physical military occupation they have on the islands that the tribunal says is part of our exclusive economic zone, will never ripen into a valid legal title.)

Duterte’s remarks about the dispute run contrast to his initial reaction to the ruling, which was issued by the PCA shortly after he took office in 2016.

China has refused to recognize the ruling and continues its military activities within the disputed waters.

Meanwhile, Duterte has chosen to shelve the ruling in exchange for Chinese economic perks to help fund his administration’s infrastructure projects.

/MUF
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TAGS: China, Malacañang, maritime dispute, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, South China sea, West Philippine Sea
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