South China Sea: Philippines turns down negotiations not based on court ruling
The Philippines has rejected bilateral talks with Beijing over the South China Sea dispute after China’s Foreign Ministry insisted a landmark court ruling against them could not be brought up at the meeting.
Philippines Foreign Secretary, Perfecto Yasay, informed local press ANC that Chinese officials had asked them for talks, but only if Manila would disregard last week’s ruling, which went overwhelmingly in the Philippines favor.
“The Chinese side asked us for bilateral negotiations but with a condition that it should be outside of The Hague recent ruling’, Yasay said in an interview.
“I told him that this is something that was not consistent with Philippines constitutions and national interest.”
Yasay also further added that Chinese officials had said if the Philippines pressed their claims, both countries could be headed for trouble.Beijing kept up its publicity offensive against the findings in London on Tuesday when the country’s ambassador, Liu Xiaoming, held a press conference to denounce the ruling as “infamous”, “null and void” and belonging in the “dustbin” of international law.
The South China Sea is a strategic waterway that carries one-third of global trade but has been riven by tension in recent years as China moves to assert its sovereignty claims through an aggressive reef-building programme.