Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Palace statement that bringing the country’s maritime disputes with China before the United Nations is a futile exercise.
Del Rosario made the statement in response to the five arguments raised by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, who said that it was pointless to raise the disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
An international panel in The Hague, Netherlands had upheld in a landmark 2016 ruling that the Philippines has exclusive rights to exploit resources in the waters.
But in a statement, Del Rosarion said that (1) the UN serves as not only the primary promoter of the rule of law but also the court of world public opinion, as he refuted Panelo’s argument that the ruling had ‘no enforcement force.’
Secondly, Del Rosario argued that Panelo’s claim that “nothing happened to Nicaragua case,” that Nicaragua’s resort to the UN had the effect of securing international publicity and of gaining favorable global opinion. The United States continued to defy the UN resolutions, until later on, it ultimately provided a substantial aid package in the order of more than US$500 million.
On the (3) “futility of going to the UN,” the former top diplomat argued that leaders of 193 countries troop to the UN each year to promote their positions before the global community of nations. These countries, including the Philippines, maintain permanent missions to the United Nations.
He also refuted Panelo’s statement that there is “no significant impact if Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. speaks on arbitral ruling before the UN General Assembly,” saying that while he agrees with this reasoning, seeking a resolution can only be pursued after the proper foundation has been developed. As we suggested earlier, it would take time and hard work but it can be done, he added.
On Panelo’s fifth argument that the “UN dominated by countries grateful to China,” Del Rosario said that he agrees with Locsin that many developing countries are beholden to China because of economic largesse, the inherent desire for the rule of law to prevail is the balancing factor.
“We have every confidence in Secretary Locsin, with the men and women in the Foreign Service, to ably undertake what is required in moving forward our case on the arbitral tribunal outcome,” he said.
Del Rosario has led the successful arbitration case which resulted in the legal victory for the Philippines in connection with the South China Sea disputes.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, China, and Taiwan are locked in decades-long territorial conflict in the resource-rich South China Sea, particularly in its southern part, called the Spratlys.
China continues to insist that it has historic rights and ownership over nearly the entire strategic waters where huge minerals and natural oil and gas deposits have been discovered in several areas.