No time for talks
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The Philippine government has rightfully rejected the request of China to meet with them on the South China Sea dispute. How could our country ever agree to a meeting solely on the terms of the party seeking the “talks”?
As revealed by Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, the Chinese government is asking our country for bilateral talks, but not to touch on the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that had been in our favor. So what, then, will be discussed when the matter of the most immediate importance is to be ignored, as if nothing had been decided yet?
The PCA had stated in its decision that there was no legal basis for
China's claims to the disputed waters. That had been our country's stand since before, but China, had ignored our complaints and went on with their reclamations and building of structures, probably sure that there was nothing a small and poor country like ours could do against her wealth, size and population.
But ours has always been a government of laws, and our leaders took the legal step which was to set the problem before the international court that has, always been the arbiter in similar cases. But China refuses to abide by the ruling, arrogantly stating that it is rejecting it.
Fortunately for us, other countries are seeing our side in this issue, and this does not look good for China that is being becoming a bully in the eyes of other peoples.
Perhaps that is why it has made the request for talks, bilateral talks, it says, but where it will call the shots.
Both China and the Philippines are signatories to the United States Convention on the Law of the Sea, and that is where we got our stand in this matter. Any talk at all should be one between equals, because, certainly, the law is already on our side.*