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Philippine Leader Questions Arbitration Ruling

Sunday, November, 6, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently stated he plans to raise a controversial arbitration ruling on the South China Sea with leaders of China. Duterte also vowed he will not surrender to any sovereignty or deviate from the July award given by the tribunal in The Hague. Calling his trip to China “… a turning point in bilateral ties,” Duterte acknowledged public concern and reassured his country’s people there would be no impact on the country’s maritime sovereignty. He will visit China with at least 200 elite member of the Filipino business community in an effort to pave the way for what he calls “… a new commercial alliance.”


Those following the situation claim the comments about arbitration will “not sit comfortably” with Chinese leaders. Duterte stated more needed to be said to address the arbitration decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration and he intends to discuss the parameters of the award without taking a hard stance against it. The ruling was a blog against China’s claims in the South China Sea, causing Beijing to refuse to recognize the case and chiding countries abiding by the ruling.


Some are calling Duterte’s moves unpredictable and an effort to strongly engage China, and there is concern there will be backlash by Beijing in the South China Sea. Duterte’s latest statements are a striking reversal from Philippines foreign policy over the last few years.


Duterte’s recent comments have also caught the attention of Americans and have affected the long-standing relationship between his country and the United States. Amid his issues with China, Duterte has chastised the American government for calling into question his war on drugs.