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Ex-envoy: Act now on sea spat

Manila should take action over its claims in the West Philippine Sea after some European states expressed their support for the Philippines’ 2016 arbitral victory against Beijing at the United Nations, a former envoy said Sunday.

China has been claiming virtually all of the South China Sea—including the West Philippine Sea—as its own.

Former Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lauro Baja told Dobol B sa News TV the support from France, Germany and the United Kingdom provided a good opportunity for the Philippines to do so.

“The pronouncement of the UK, France and Germany on the West Philippine Sea is a positive development for the Philippines,” Baja said.

“On that basis we have to act, we have to speak out.”

In a note verbale filed by the permanent mission of the UK before the UN in New York, the European states referred to the arbitral ruling in 2016 that upheld the Philippines' claims based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Baja said the impact of the Europeans’ support would depend on “how far these countries are willing to go to help us,” especially if the Philippines brought the issue before the United Nations.

On Friday, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario said the Philippines should raise before the United Nations its arbitral tribunal victory in 2016 against China.

Earlier, however, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. expressed opposition to Del Rosario's bid, claiming the topic would only subject the Philippines; legitimate win to a debate.

“We won it already. Why litigate something you already won?” Locsin said.

Topics: West Philippine Sea , United Nations , South China Sea , China , Albert Del Rosario
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