MANILA—The Philippines’ arbitral victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will still be subject of continuing diplomatic discussions between China and the Philippines, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has said.
This, even as President Rodrigo Duterte is unlikely to invoke again the landmark ruling to Chinese President Xi Jinping, he added.
“Well, since they already agreed that matter should be subject of continuing negotiation eh ganoon na nga 'yun,” Panelo said in a briefing in Beijing Friday.
“In other words, it has not stopped. Ganoon pa rin. Mag-uusap pa rin sila peacefully through the defense, through the mechanism on negotiation," he added.
The negotiations, Panelo said, aim to resolve the territorial conflict while maximizing the benefits of improved bilateral relations.
“Well, the ideal there is, with respect to the conflict, we’re still discussing peacefully how to resolve it, but with respect to more areas that both countries may benefit, nandoon tayo. Nandoon ang concentration natin,” he said.
The Philippines in 2016 won a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.
However, China didn't recognize the ruling and has instead ramped up its militarization efforts in the vital waterway.