China told to respect ruling
China has dismissed verdict.
China should respect South China Sea ruling, says Philippines
The Philippines has said China should respect an international tribunal’s rejection of its claims in the South China Sea.
In a statement, it said Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay would raise the issue at a major two-day Asia-Europe summit starting on Friday, attended by China’s Premier Li Keqiang.
A UN-backed tribunal ruled on Tuesday that there was no legal basis to China’s claims in the South China Sea.
China has vowed to ignore the ruling.
It says the panel has no jurisdiction and its activities in the region will not be affected.
The Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (Asem) in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia on Friday and Saturday will be the first major multilateral diplomatic gathering since the 12 July ruling over the South China Sea.
The summit will see 53 leaders from Asia and Europe attending, including from countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia which also claim territory in the region.
It will also be the first meeting in which the new Philippine government of President Rodrigo Duterte will be represented on the world stage.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Mr Yasay, representing Mr Duterte, would “discuss within the context of Asem’s agenda the Philippines’ peaceful and rules-based approach on the South China Sea and the need for parties to respect the recent decision”.
It is the strongest statement yet from the Philippines on the ruling.
Mr Duterte has adopted a more conciliatory approach than his predecessor Benigno Aquino, saying the Philippines would be willing to share natural resources with China in contested areas if the tribunal ruled in its favour.
It initially welcomed the ruling as a “milestone decision”, but without outright celebration.
China, which claims almost all of the South China Sea, has said the summit is “not a suitable place to discuss” the issue.
“It should not be put on the agenda,” Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou told Reuters.
Tuesday’s ruling came from an arbitration tribunal brought by the Philippines under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which both countries have signed.
It said China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights and caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment” by building artificial islands.
The ruling is binding but the Permanent Court of Arbitration has no powers of enforcement.