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Duterte: Arbitral ruling not an issue for Asean

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President Duterte on Thursday said it was pointless discussing at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit the Philippines’ victory over China in the South China Sea dispute, and no one dared pressure Beijing anyway.
President Duterte on Thursday said it was pointless discussing at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit the Philippines’ victory over China in the South China Sea dispute, and no one dared pressure Beijing anyway.
Mr. Duterte told reporters that the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling in favor of the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute was an issue between Manila and Beijing only and it was not worth discussing with other Asean member states during the summit in Manila this week.
“I will skip the arbitral ruling. It is not an issue here in the Asean, ” Mr. Duterte said.
Handed down on July 12 last year, the arbitral ruling invalidated China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea and said Beijing violated Manila’s sovereign right to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea, waters in the South China Sea within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.
Mr. Duterte, however, said the Philippines, the Asean chair this year, could not alone force China to abide by the ruling.
“China said [it was] completely ignoring the [ruling] , so what more can you ask of it? Make noise? For what?” he said.
‘Misunderstanding’
On reports that China’s Navy harassed Filipino fishermen at Union Banks, in the Spratly archipelago, Mr. Duterte said there had been a “misunderstanding.”
“We have talked about it. I said I [hoped it would] not happen again, ” he said.
The ruling is relevant to the disputes between China and three other Asean members—Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam—over territory in the South China Sea.

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