Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — The Philippines is expected to continue to enjoy the United States’ support in its stake in the West Philippine Sea even if a new American president emerges from this week’s elections, the country’s envoy said Friday.
Manila can maintain close ties with the US should incumbent President Donald Trump or his Democratic rival Joe Biden win, Philippine Ambassador in Washington, DC Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez told CNN Philippines’ The Source, and will continue to benefit with support against China’s sweeping claims in the disputed waters.
“We’re very happy that the Republican administration of President Trump recognized the arbitral win, which is very important for us,” Romualdez said.
“We don’t know what the Biden administration would do, although we’ve had some discussions with some of their foreign policy advisors of the Democratic party and they said that for instance, the South China Sea – where they recognized the Trump administration has clearly indicated that they recognize the arbitral win of the Philippines – will be maintained. So that’s good in one way.”
In 2016, an international tribunal in The Hague invalidated Beijing’s sweeping territorial stakes in the South China Sea and recognized Manila’s sovereign rights in areas within its exclusive economic zone which China claims.
Trump has aggressively sanctioned China as well as companies from the mainland for its illegal incursions, with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo imposing visa restrictions on Chinese nationals and blacklisting companies involved in militarization and reclamation activities in the South China Sea.
The US has also repeatedly raised tariffs on China’s imports and placed tech giant Huawei on the blacklist for parts and software supply deals with American companies.
Under the Republican politician and property mogul, the US has also taken a firm stance on questioning the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and North Korea’s nuclear warfare, to name a few.
WARM TIES SUSTAINED
“Very good” ties between Malacañang and the White House should remain regardless of who is elected as America’s commander-in-chief for the next four years.
“We all know about the human rights issues that were thrown at us even during this administration of President Trump, but we’ve maintained all the time that all these issues, you can advise us and inform us about it, but not to tell us how we run our government,” the envoy added.
“We may have some problems with former President (Barack) Obama but I think with President Biden, I don’t see any problem in having a relationship. It may not be the best of friends, but they certainly will be able to have a good, cordial relationship if Biden becomes president,” he added.