What's next for PH, China after court ruling?

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2016 11:59 PM

MANILA - Political analysts and international law experts gave their two cents on what will happen next following an international court's ruling in favor of the Philippines in its maritime case against China.

Speaking on ANC's "Beyond Politics," Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque, former ABC News Beijing Bureau Chief Chito Sta. Romana, and University of the Philippines (UP) Political Science Professor Herman Kraft shared their thoughts on what will happen now that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled in favor of the Philippines.

According to Kraft, it is more likely that China will continue to assert its claim in the contested area, despite the court ruling.

"I think we'll see a heightened assertion of their claim in the sense that you'll find more patrol boats there, more active movements on the part of their coast guard around the disputed areas. But this is really more of a signal that we're [China] not giving up on this," he said.

Xinhua, China's official news agency, said Tuesday that the country "does not accept and does not recognize" the ruling by a UN-backed tribunal on its dispute with the Philippines over the South China Sea.


Sta. Romana, for his part, said it is important for the country to monitor China's movements in the South China Sea.

"I don't think they will yield. For the foreseeable future, we will see a barrage, a storm of rhetoric, hot rhetoric, in the coming days. They've been doing this already," he said.

Among the things the Philippines should look out for are reclamation projects in Scarborough Shoal, and other activities that may affect Filipino fishermen.

Sta. Romana added that China also has to explain to its residents why it did not participate in the case.

"All these propaganda they're doing, it's so incredible and I don't know who believes them, but it's directed at the domestic audience. They have to convince their own people why they did not participate, why their case should win."

READ: Philippines beats China in international court


For Kraft, what is important for the Philippines is to be able to normalize its relationship with China.

"We're not talking about negotiating the questions of sovereignty and all of the other sensitive issues we have right now. We're talking about trying to normalize relations with China now, making sure that the tensions that we've had the past few years, [and] ratchet it down basically," he said.

Sta. Romana agreed with Kraft, adding that it is better for both the Philippines and China to aim for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

"The harder you press China, the more you say you won't give up any inch of sovereignty, they respond the same way...until you have a border war. And that's what happened in Vietnam," Sta. Romana said.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week offered China conciliatory talks on the long-awaited international tribunal ruling over conflicting maritime claims.

"If it's favorable to us, let's talk," Duterte said in a speech before the Philippine Air Force last July 5.

Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea in a ruling that was claimed as a victory by the Philippines.

"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the court said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources.