The Philippines should find a “win-win” solution and a “face-saving” scenario for China in the issue of the overlapping claims in the South China Sea, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has said.
Carpio made the remarks in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s bilateral talks in Beijing and Filipino fishermen being able to fish at the Panatag Shoal without being harassed by Chinese coast guard.
Lei Alviz’s report on “24 Oras” Tuesday quoted Carpio as saying it was unlikely for the Chinese to leave the disputed territories in line with the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that debunked China’s nine-dash-line claims.
The tribunal upheld, among others, the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone as provided by the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea.
“I don’t see them leaving just because they’ve lost. And we have to think of a creative way to give China a face-saving exit here, and I think the way to that is to declare Spratlys as a marine protected area,” Carpio said in an interview with the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.
“It’s a win-win situation. If you look at it, China needs to fish in South China Sea because they have the highest per capita consumption of fish in the world, and they have to feed 1.4 billion people,” he added.
Carpio reiterated the importance of the words that will be used if ever an agreement is crafted between the two countries.
“Scarborough Shoal is defined as part of the Philippine territory under our domestic law. Of course we cannot concede any of our sovereign rights or sovereignty of our Scarborough Shoal,” Carpio said.