MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) urged China Wednesday to reconsider its decision not to participate in the arbitration proceedings filed before a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal.
DFA Spokesman Charles Jose said arbitration is "a peaceful, open resolution mechanism that offers a durable solution to the disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea."
A United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal has ordered China to respond to a pleading filed by the Philippines in connection with the dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The tribunal, based in The Hague, Netherlands, ordered China to submit not later than December 15 this year its counter-argument to a memorial filed by the Philippines.
The tribunal will determine the further course of the proceedings, including the need for, and scheduling of any other written submissions and hearings, at an appropriate later stage, after seeking the views of the Parties.
"I understand sumagot na din ang China dito, nagpadala ng note, na hindi sila magpa-participate. Next na action siguro ay magtatawag ng hearing ang Court, inviting both parties. Ngayon, kung hindi pa rin magpaparticipate ang China rito, maaring magdecide yung Court, based dun sa submission lang ng Philippines," Jose said.
The DFA is still optimistic that the arbitral tribunal will get China's position even if that may not come officially from the Chinese side.
On another matter, the DFA expressed concern over the continuing tension between China and Vietnam.
"Well, of course, right from the start, sinabi natin it's a cause for concern. Kasi nga ito is causing tensions to rise in the… in the region and we have called on both sides to exercise restraint and we hope that the situation will not further escalate," said Jose.