PH has ‘Plan B’ in case tribunal won’t hear case vs China


MANILA – The Philippines has a “plan B” in case a United Nations arbitral tribunal will decide it does not have jurisdiction over the Philippines’ case to protect its sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

“We have a plan B, but we can’t disclose options at this time considering how sensitive this issue is,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Charles Jose said in an interview.

Jose, however, said the country is confident the court will continue to hear the case’s merits.

He said going to the arbitral tribunal is the best option to resolve the issue with China, which had questioned earlier the court’s jurisdiction over the Philippine petition.

China has insisted the best way to solve the conflict is through bilateral talks.

“We’re hoping that the court will see this. We’ve been talking to China since 1995 when they illegally occupied Mischief Reef and even during the Scarborough standoff in 2012,” he said.

He admitted the country’s case is unique since it will be the first to be lodged before the tribunal with only one party in attendance.

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