MANILA- The government should heed the advice of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to bring China’s threat of war over the South China Sea to the United Nations and revisit joint patrols with the United States, a former foreign affairs chief said Monday.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario earlier criticized China's warning as a show of disrespect for the law.
“Use of force as well as threats of use of force are serious violations of the UN Charter, and it is in our national interest to have the Philippines file this protest with the UN General Assembly,” he said in a statement Monday.
Del Rosario said the Philippines should prepare for a “dual response” consisting of heeding Carpio’s advice and revisiting the joint patrolling of the country’s exclusive economic zone with the US and other allies. This is after the President Duterte bared that China warned of war if Manila insists on its plans to drill oil in the resource-rich waters.
President Duterte said he asserted to Chinese President Xi Jinping the Philippines' right to its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines' EEZ in the South China Sea.
“We can expect that the responsible community of nations would be supportive of such a diplomatic action by the Philippine Government,” Del Rosario said.
Carpio, in reaction to Duterte’s revelation, said Xi’s threat was a "gross violation" of the United Nations Charter, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties.
"The Philippines' recourse is to bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal," Carpio said.
Del Rosario explained that Manila should take a “defensive posture” similar to the stance of the previous administration unlike the friendlier stance being undertaken by Duterte with Beijing.
“The joint patrol initiative with the US was jettisoned by our incumbent government as being inconsistent with our new government’s full embrace of China,” he said.
Del Rosario noted that undertaking joint patrols with US troops would “effectively” posture Manila’s security guarantee agreement with Washington.
“The joint patrol of our EEZ with the US and possibly other partners would be a combined strategic and tactical move for the Philippine government in defending our national interest and territorial integrity,” he said.
“It will furthermore serve to effectively posture our security guarantee agreement as provided for by our treaty alliance with the United States,” he added.