Del Rosario warns of 'challenges' in PH-China talks

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2016 04:04 PM

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. File photo

MANILA - Former Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario on Friday warned the Duterte administration on its plan to sit down with China, saying previous efforts to resolve the maritime row through bilateral negotiations were "not very productive."

Del Rosario argued the Philippine case against China before a United Nations-backed court, which ruled this month that Beijing's vast claims had no legal basis.

"Maybe they should experience first what it's like to have a bilateral with china. And then they can learn for themselves what the challenges are like," he told reporters in Makati.

"My experience before was a bilateral meeting with China is not very productive because China will stick by the position that they have indisputable sovereignty over the entire South China Sea," he added.

Asked if he was in favor of the new administration's decision to hold bilateral talks, Del Rosario said only that he was "supportive" of former President Fidel V. Ramos leading the Philippine delegation.

President Rodrigo Duterte is sending Ramos to China on a high-level diplomatic mission following the July 12 ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Duterte said the ruling that favored the Philippines would be an "ace card" in the negotiations.

Del Rosario said the ruling should be the "focal point" of discussions with Beijing, which has rejected it.

"What are you going to talk about if you set that aside?" he said.