Bring up sea dispute to UN? 'Let's be realistic,' says Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2020 05:16 PM

MANILA - Malacañang brushed off Friday the idea of raising the Philippines arbitral victory in the South China Sea before the United Nations General Assembly, saying Manila cannot sway the body to take its side.

Raising the arbitral victory to the international body was floated after France, Germany, and the United Kingdom lodged a note verbale with the UN saying that China's supposed “historic rights” over the resource-rich waters “do not comply” with international law.

The Philippines should be "realistic," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who also taught international law in the past, said as he noted that the decision itself is "the victory."

"Iyong sinasabi nila na dapat gawin sa UN General Assembly, puwede po iyan pero let’s be realistic. Hindi po natin mase-sway ang 197 member ng UN kung ang kalaban po natin ay Tsina dahil alam naman natin limited ang ating kakayahan," Roque said.

(It's possible to raise it at the UN General Assembly but let's be realistic. We cannot sway the 197-member UN if our enemy is China because we have limited capabilities.)

"At sa pulitika money talks, iyan po talaga even in international relations," he added.

(In politics, money talks. And that is true even in international relations.)

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also rejected the idea, saying it was "not right" to raise it there where "numbers talk."

"Imagine if I had brought the matter up in the UN General Assembly where numbers talk and not right as suggested by idiots," he said on Twitter. 

China has refused to recognize the ruling which invalidated its sweeping claims in the South China Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte, whose administration received the ruling at the start of his term, has refused to flaunt the decision and opting instead to pursue warmer ties with China.