Del Rosario: China should follow rule of law

Rachel Hermosura, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2016 12:14 AM

MANILA - Former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert Del Rosario on Tuesdy said it is in China's best interest to adhere to the rule of law in the wake of the arbitration court's ruling on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Speaking to ANC, Del Rosario said that while there is no entity that can enforce the arbitral tribunal's ruling, the verdict is clear on several areas, including fishing activities in the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

He added that the Philippines should now work on getting China to recognize the ruling, with the help of other nations that backed Manila in taking Beijing to court.

"I think we need to rely quite heavily on the nations that have supported us -- and there are many in terms of the position that we took to go to arbitration. I think that we will continue to seek the support and the cooperation of these nations so that they can help us in terms of convincing China that the right way to go is adhere to the rule of law. On China's part, I think that they want to be, I'm sure, a respected world power. I think in order to be that, you have to have the respect of the international community of nations and to earn that, you have to adhere to the rule of law," Del Rosario said.

READ: Hague tribunal's ruling on West PH Sea 

In an earlier written statement, the country's former top diplomat said the arbitration court's ruling "provides a basis to further talks and cooperation to encompass all parties, including China. This has been proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte so that good faith discussions, based on the rule of law, can be commenced to prepare the way for negotiations and a lasting settlement among all parties with claims in the South China Sea."

Del Rosario, who was part of the delegation that represented the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, said the ruling surpassed his expectations.

"In truth, it exceeded my expectations because I understand from our lawyers -- we spoke to them earlier -- that the decision or decisions were unprecedented because we won almost all of our submissions. There was no doubt that the judges had exercised wisdom and objectivity and we're grateful to them as well," he said.

Del Rosario also said the Philippines' victory in the arbitration case ultimately belongs to Filipinos.

"I think we should congratulate the Filipino people, we should congratulate our legal counselors and also our people at the DFA. I think all of us deserve to be congratulated," he said.