MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Tuesday the Philippines cannot compel China to submit to a third party, now that China has rejected the suggestion to go to a third party to investigate the incident in Recto Bank.
“We cannot compel China to agree to a preferred third party. If it doesn’t want to then you can’t do anything about it,” he told reporters during a press conference.
Guevarra said the next step would be to proceed to negotiations in case the Philippines’ and China’s investigations will lead to different results.
“[A]ssuming that there will be a disagreement as to the factual findings, I guess the two parties will just have to sort it out, continue to negotiate until a consensus is arrived. We cannot force a party to do something it doesn’t want to do,” he said.
The justice chief expressed confidence however that “both countries will exert all efforts to reach a consensus and a satisfactory resolution” to the issue.