Malacañang on Saturday further raised expectations that President Rodrigo Duterte would discuss the landmark ruling on the South China Sea when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.
“His trip to China now, to him, it’s the right time to raise the arbitration ruling,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.
“There will be a time when I will invoke that arbitral ruling. This is the time that’s why I’m going there,” Duterte had told Panelo last August 6, adding that the President sought to raise the ruling given that he only had three years left in his term.
The United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in July 2016 handed a sweeping victory to the Philippines when the tribunal invalidated China’s claims to nearly the entire South China Sea and clarified Manila’s maritime entitlements.
Duterte had also promised to discuss the June 9 Recto Bank ramming, as well as the 60-40 sharing arrangement in the proposed joint oil exploration in the South China Sea.