De Lima likens China to a rogue state for calling arbitral award a mere piece of paper


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has likened China to a rogue state for its tendency to be selective in its acceptance of the rule of law, particularly in the international setting.

De Lima made the statement after Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian recently stated that the historic July 12, 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague that rejected its excessive claims in the South China Sea (SCS), including the West Philippine Sea (WPS), is nothing but a “piece of waste paper.”

“What makes China closely assume the distinction of a rogue state is its tendency to be selective in its acceptance of the rule of law in the international setting. Its position that the UNCLOS arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea that voided its nine-dash line claim over the whole of the South China Sea is a mere scrap of paper reflects this tendency,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1097.

“We must remember that China is a state-party to the UNCLOS. No one forced it to accede to this international treaty on the law of the seas. But China would like to benefit from UNCLOS whenever the treaty is favorable to them, but reject it when it does not work for them. This is the sum and substance of China’s character in the world stage as a superpower,” she added.

In a press briefing on the 5th anniversary of the Arbitral Award last July 12, Zhao insisted that Beijing does not accept nor participate in the arbitration and does not recognize the award, claiming that “the award of the arbitration is illegal, null and void. It is nothing more than a piece of waste paper.”

Such statement echoed Mr. Duterte’s May 5 statement saying that the ruling affirming the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the WPS is just a piece of paper that he can throw in the waste basket.

De Lima stressed that China will not succeed in its attempt to implant among nations the so-called legitimacy of its unilateral rejection of the UNCLOS arbitral ruling which states that China has no rights in the WPS.

“The arbitration procedure and its consequent resolution of the Philippine case versus China is recognized as a valid and legal disposition of China’s and the Philippines’ UNCLOS entitlements in the West Philippine Sea. And the UNCLOS states that China simply has no entitlement whatsoever in the West Philippine Sea. It is but an intruder when it enters and exploits the Philippines’ EEZ,” she said.

“Every single day, the arbitral ruling is honored by the other world superpowers when their armadas sail through the South China Sea right under China’s nose. In fact, since the ruling was issued in 2016, the US and its allies have repeatedly thumbed their noses at China with their naval exercises conducted right in the middle of what China claims to be its lake,” she added.

Ultimately, De Lima said China is powerless to enforce its own nine-dash line claim in the whole of the South China Sea and that traitors in the Duterte Administration are aware of such fact but still continue to refuse to recognize it.

“Only traitors refuse to recognize this when they continue to harp on their own country’s supposed weakness, when all the while it is not the nation that is weak, but only Duterte, Roque and their ilk as they perform in accordance with the terms of their employment with China,” she said.

“Tingnan nyo naman kung gaano ka-pro-China ang budhi ni Duterte at Roque, na ituring pang sinungaling ang mga mangingisdang mas naninindigan pa sa gobyerno para ipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan at hindi pagnakawan ng kabuhayan,” she added. (30)

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