MANILA, Philippines — Addressing the United Nations General Assembly next week will be an excellent opportunity for the country to seek the help of the international community in compelling China to comply with the 2016 ruling of an arbitral court on the South China Sea issue, former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said.
The 74th regular session of the UN General Assembly opened yesterday at the UN Headquarters in New York. World leaders will speak before the General Assembly to present their positions on issues to the international community.
“As we are scheduled to speak on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, this would be an excellent opportunity for us to move forward our position on The Hague ruling,” Del Rosario said.
The 2016 ruling of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague invalidated China’s massive South China Sea claim and reaffirmed the Philippines’ own maritime entitlements.
“The UN General Assembly is an excellent venue because all countries will listen and the Philippines can present a case for the UN to reassert that right is might and the rule of law must be upheld,” he said.
He cited Nicaragua’s winning its case demanding reparation from the United States before the International Court of Justice of the UN.
“It can be said that Nicaragua won over the United States,” Del Rosario said.
Nicaragua’s resorting to UN intervention, he said, had the effect of securing international publicity and gaining favorable global opinion. The US ultimately provided a substantial aid package to Nicaragua after initially defying UN resolutions.
“In our case, the arbitral tribunal outcome was an overwhelming victory not only for the Philippines but also for the entire world. Unless we allow it, China can no longer claim the South China Sea as its own lake,” Del Rosario said.
“On approaching the UN, our humble proposal is for the President to task the Department of Foreign Affairs to formulate a strategy on how the global village of nations can be convinced to take a stand on the rule of law in support of the Philippines,” he added.
Del Rosario emphasized that many countries have come forward in support of the arbitral ruling. The European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), United States, Japan, Australia and other countries have shown solidarity with the Philippines on its emphasis for peaceful means of resolving conflict and respect for the rule of law.
“As we had said before, it would take time and hard work, but it can be done by Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr., who may wish to enlist the assistance of various retired permanent representatives,” Del Rosario pointed out.
“With the Philippines not being respected as a friend of China, given the blatant violations of our EEZ, the harassment of our fishermen, the recent ramming of our fishermen’s boat, the swarming of threatening quasi-military ships around Panatag Shoal, Pagasa Island and the Recto Bank, we believe that it is now imperative for us to bring these to the attention of the United Nations,” he said.
Del Rosario stressed that the arbitral tribunal ruling is now an integral part of international law.
China’s violation of international law and non-compliance with a lawful ruling of an international tribunal, he said, undermine the very foundation of stability, peace and security of the international community.