MANILA—The country's former top diplomat urged the Duterte government anew to bring up the Philippines' legal victory against China over the South China Sea as world leaders gather at the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Tuesday.
"The UN General Assembly is an excellent venue because all countries will listen and the Philippines can present a case for the UN to reassert that right is might and the rule of law must be upheld," Albert Del Rosario said in a statement released Monday.
He said the Philippines, which is scheduled to speak on Saturday, Sept. 28, should bring its arbitral ruling to the international fora to compel China to abide the law.
"The arbitral tribunal outcome was an overwhelming victory not only for the Philippines but also for the entire world. Unless we allow it, China can no longer claim the South China Sea as its own lake," Del Rosario said.
He proposed that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should "formulate a strategy on how the global village of nations can be convinced to take a stand on the rule of law in support of the Philippines."
"It would take time and hard work, but it can be done by Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr., who may wish to enlist the assistance of various retired Permanent Representatives," Del Rosario said.
He said the UN had supported before a country's legal victory in the international court through the case of Nicaragua against the United States.
The UN General Assembly adopted resolutions calling for full compliance with the judgement of the International Court of Justice in favor of Nicaragua, he said.
"Nicaragua’s resort to the UN had the effect of securing international publicity and of gaining favorable global opinion. The United States continued to defy the UN resolutions, until later on, it ultimately provided a substantial aid package to Nicaragua," Del Rosario said.
He also said the Duterte government should listen to the Filipino people in which majority believed the Philippines must regain control of the artificial islands built by China in the West Philippine Sea.
"China’s violation of international law and non-compliance with a lawful ruling of an international tribunal undermine the very foundation of stability, peace and security of the international community," he said.
"None can equal in bringing China’s unlawful actions to fore than the condemnation by the United Nations. Consequently, the influence of global opinion should not be underestimated for it may contribute, albeit overtime, to a desired outcome that upholds the arbitral ruling," Del Rosario added.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague upheld in 2016 Philippines’ sovereign rights to its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), rejecting China’s historic claim to resources in the South China Sea using its 9-dash line doctrine.
China claims large parts of the South China Sea and is ramping up its militarization activities in the resource-rich waters. Other claimants, such as Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, contest the territorial claims.