Historic international ruling on South China Sea ‘just paper’ fit for rubbish bin: Philippine President Duterte


MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday (May 6) the historic legal victory for the Philippines against China over the South China Sea amounted to “just paper” fit for the rubbish bin.

“That paper, in reality among nations, is just paper. It’s nothing… In street talk, I will tell you to give it to me, and I will tell you it’s just paper. I’ll throw it into the wastebasket,” he said in his weekly televised address meant to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

His latest remarks appear to be aimed at appeasing China, which currently supplies the bulk of the Covid-19 vaccine needs of the Philippines.

But the president’s conciliatory tone came just hours after a Philippine navy-led task force rejected an annual fishing ban imposed by China in the South China Sea. It chased away Chinese militia boats near a shoal that is just 240km off the coast of Palawan, the Philippines’ westernmost province.

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s claims over nearly all of the South China Sea, and said China violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The case was filed in 2013 by the government of then President Benigno Aquino, but the ruling was released just two weeks after Mr Duterte took office.