MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte affirmed the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) ruling in favor of the Philippines’ arbitration case against China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea (SCS) before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
In his pre-recorded speech delivered from Malacañang Palace, Duterte, during the 75th Session of the General Assembly in New York early Wednesday (Manila time), encouraged fellow UN member states to “remain mindful” of their obligations and commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and as amplified by the 1982 Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes.
"The Philippines affirms that commitment in the South China Sea in accordance with UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and the 2016 Arbitral Award,” he said.
Duterte added that the PCA’s ruling “is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon.”
“We firmly reject attempts to undermine it,” he said.
The President also welcomed the increasing number of states that have come in support of the award “and what it stands for – the triumph of reason over rashness, of law over disorder, of amity over ambition. This – as it should – is the majesty of the law.”
Duterte was referring to the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, which last September 16 submitted a joint note verbale to the UN, challenging the legality of China’s so-called nine-dash line that covers nearly the entire South China Sea.
The three countries, which are all state parties to the UNCLOS, said China’s exercise of “historic rights” over the disputed South China Sea does not comply with international law and UNCLOS provisions.
They cited the UN-backed PCA’s ruling on July 12, 2016, in favor of the Philippines’ arbitration case filed in 2013. (PNA)