FVR willing to set aside Hague ruling in China talks

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2016 11:02 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2016 02:23 AM

If his health permits, former President Fidel V. Ramos is open to becoming the Philippines' special envoy to China. "If I get a medical clearance," Ramos said in an interview with media Tuesday.

If given the post, he is willing to temporarily set aside the ruling of the arbitral tribunal, if that is what China demands in order for the two nations to talk.

When Ramos found out that journalists wanted to hear his thoughts on China, he called two women - whom he introduced as Chinese - to sit beside him.

Every so often, he would shower the Chinese people with praise, after years of developing good relations with the economic superpower.

When asked if he was open to President Rodrigo Duterte's offer to make him the Philippines' special envoy to China, Ramos said yes, but only if his health and his family permitted.

He also wants to speak to Duterte first before accepting the job.

READ: China welcomes Duterte's plan to send FVR 

On ANC's "Headstart," Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay recounted his recent conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Yasay believes that China would be open to allowing Filipino fishermen back into Scarborough Shoal, if the Philippines would not make mention of the ruling of the arbitral tribunal.

For Ramos, it would be okay to temporarily take the ruling off the table, if in exchange, they could talk about the Filipinos' right to fish.

The arbitral tribunal's ruling declared China's nine-dash line claim illegal and without basis, and said China's actions in the West Philippine Sea violated the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Yasay, on the other hand, believes it is not something that the Philippines can set aside, but he is willing to find other ways to improve relations with China.

He added that the oil-rich Reed Bank is not the government's immediate priority because the Philippines has no capability to explore the area yet.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said China's activities have not let up in the West Philippines, and in fact, China's defense attache even informed him of a recent series of tests done on Mischief Reef, the largest of China's seven man-made islands, and well within the Philippines' EEZ.

Now that international law has sided with the Philippines against China, the complicated and delicate balancing act begins for the Duterte administration.