Manila Won’t Protest China Coast Guard Law Before UN — Radio Free Asia

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The Philippines won’t protest earlier than the United Nations a few new legislation that enables the Chinese coast guard to make use of pressure in opposition to overseas boats within the South China Sea, Manila’s high diplomat mentioned Monday, whereas asserting plans to fulfill with American officers later this month to “iron out” variations over a key navy pact.

To search redress from the U.N. could be counterproductive for Manila as a result of a world arbitration courtroom had dominated within the nation’s favor in 2016 in a case introduced in opposition to Beijing over contested waters within the sea, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. mentioned.

To achieve this now would solely reopen litigation, which might put Manila’s authorized victory at stake, he mentioned in a tv interview. 

“I am not going to go back there because the Coast Guard Law has some claims as to the extent of their territory,” Locsin instructed ANC tv.  

“That will re-open the arbitral award and I’m not going to give them a chance to do that. Because I’ll tell you one thing about the Chinese – Chinese diplomacy has been very effective with most of the members of the United Nations and I’m not going to throw our victory into that and let them decide,” he mentioned.

On Jan. 22, China’s National People’s Congress handed the Coast Guard Law, which positioned the coast guard underneath navy command. The legislation comprises a provision that enables its ships to make use of weapons in opposition to any vessels present in waters that Beijing claims as its territory. The new legislation took impact final week.

On Jan. 27, Locsin introduced that the Philippine authorities had filed a protest in opposition to the brand new Chinese legislation. At the time, he mentioned the laws was “a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it.”

Last week, Locsin publicly clashed with the spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, Harry Roque, a former worldwide lawyer, who mentioned that the federal government might increase China’s new legislation earlier than a U.N. tribunal. At the time, the Philippines’ high diplomat instructed Roque to “lay off” overseas affairs.

“Even Harry Roque said the same thing. He said no, and I said no. Well, a little bit angrily. I love the man, and he loves me back,” Locsin mentioned on Monday. “But no. We’re not doing it because my brain tells me it’s wrong.”

The overseas secretary additionally turned down a suggestion that the Philippines attain out to Southeast Asian nations whose claims to the South China Sea overlap with China’s claims to come back collectively in opposition to the brand new legislation. 

China claims practically all the South China Sea as its personal.

Six different Asian governments – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam – have territorial claims or maritime boundaries within the South China Sea that overlap with the sweeping claims of China. While Indonesia doesn’t regard itself as social gathering to the South China Sea dispute, Beijing claims historic rights to components of that sea overlapping Indonesia’s unique financial zone.

The Philippines and different members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which have claims ought to take the Coast Guard Law to the U.N., Antonio Carpio, a maritime legislation skilled and former Philippine Supreme Court justice, mentioned not too long ago.   

“The ASEAN states that are prejudiced by this new law of China can go to UNCLOS and get this new law of China declared void under UNCLOS and international law,” Carpio had mentioned, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

Carpio, who helped the Philippines safe its 2016 win earlier than the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, described the brand new Chinese legislation as a “threat against the world.” 

Beijing, by its embassy in Manila, claimed final week that its Coast Guard Law had been “misinterpreted” and was nothing however a standard home legislative exercise.

VFA talks

Locsin additionally mentioned that Washington and Manila have been anticipated to hash their variations over the Visiting Forces Agreement, a bilateral pact that enables U.S. forces to conduct large-scale workouts in Philippine territory, over the past week of February.

A yr in the past, President Duterte ordered that the VFA be dropped after the U.S. revoked the visa of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, the previous nationwide police chief who had led his administration’s conflict on medicine.

In June, the Philippine authorities suspended its choice to finish the deal amid Chinese threats within the South China Sea. By November, Duterte referred to as for taking one other six months to find out the standing of the VFA.

“I am narrowing down the issues and soon we will meet … and iron out whatever differences we have,” Locsin mentioned in Monday’s TV interview.

The overseas secretary mentioned he had additionally affirmed Manila’s dedication to the bilateral Mutual Defense Treaty, throughout a current cellphone name with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

“He affirmed that it was important for (him) to preface it on what Pompeo said because that was the most precise formulation I’ve ever or anyone’s ever heard of the American defense commitment and he articulated it,” Locsin mentioned, referring to Michael Pompeo, the earlier secretary of state.

In addition, Locsin mentioned he would proceed to press for a code of conduct in disputed waters of the South China Sea that “will never exclude” the United States.

“With that, you have the assurance of a balance of power in the region,” Locsin mentioned.

Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated on-line information service.

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