The Daily Manila Shimbun


Chinese academic says US, Japan, Australia should allow China and Philippines to handle issues

August 18, 2017

A Chinese academic said Friday US, Japan and Australia’s statement urging China and Philippines to follow the ruling of an arbitral tribunal regarding the South China Sea will “stir trouble”.

“It’s not constructive, no contribution in the stabilization on the South China Sea but to stir more trouble. That is why I think it's not a positive act, said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of China Institute of International Studies in a forum at the Ateneo de Manila.

The One Belt, One Road forum was organized by the Ateneo Chinese Studies Program School of Social Sciences, Department of Leadership and Strategy John Gokongwei School of Management and  Association for Philippines China Understanding (APCU).

He said US, Japan and Australia should respect and let China and Philippines handle the territorial issue.

In the Australia-Japan-US Trilateral Strategic Dialogue joint statement issued on August 7, the three countries “called on China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal's 2016 Award in the Philippines-China arbitration”.

Ruan said the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he will make use of the arbitration on the right time is not a good idea.

He said China made a statement before the 2016 arbitration it is “not going to participate in any kind of arbitration any kind of mediation by other” country.

“China is just exercising its right because the UNCLOS ( United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea), if you look at UNCLOS... (it) give the country the right to make a choice. So, China is exercising the right given by the UNCLOS”, he said.

Ruan said China and Philippines will not touch the legal aspect of the two countries on the territorial disputes.

“I don’t think we will touch the legal aspect in the perceivable future… If you touched it you’re not going to go anywhere so we are not going to touch it however it will not affect your position on the issue”, he said.

Any unilateral actions on joint exploration in the South China  Sea will not work, Ruan said.

“We should find the middle way to pursue this joint exploration and this joint exploration must be agreed by both countries”, he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Thursday  Duterte is open for possible joint exploration in the South China Sea with foreign entities.

Ruan said the Philippines and China have made a “tremendous progress” since the code of conduct in South China sea was initiated. Alanna Ambi/DMS