MANILA, Phililppines – (UPDATE, 8:04 P.M) President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he would raise a controversial arbitral ruling on the South China Sea with China’s leaders, and vowed not to surrender any sovereignty or deviate from the July award by the tribunal in The Hague.
Duterte said his trip to China this week represented a turning point in bilateral ties, but he acknowledged there was some public concern about his rapid rapprochement moves and reassured Filipinos that would not impact on the country’s maritime sovereignty.
In comments that will not sit comfortably with the Chinese leadership, Duterte said the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration would be talked about and the parameters of the award would be discussed, but there would be no “hard imposition” of it.
The ruling dealt a blow to China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea. Beijing has refused to recognize the case and has chided any country telling it to abide by the ruling.
“I will not bargain anywhere, we will continue to insist that is ours,” he told a news conference in his home city of Davao.
“The international tribunal decision will be taken up.”