Gordon calls for multilateral talks on West Philippine Sea dispute

Philippines China Disputed Shoal

Senator Richard J. Gordon has expressed elation that the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration upheld the Philippines in its ruling on the historic case against China over the long-running dispute over West Philippine Sea.

“We welcome the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines in our historic case against China over the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Gordon said the ruling should be taken as an opportunity to dialogue in order to move forward and not as an opportunity to take provocative moves or anything that would increase the tension. This statement was given in the wake of an announcement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying that China neither accepts nor recognizes the decision of the PCA,

Gordon pointed out that the Philippines should engage China and all the other nation claimants in multilateral talks to be able to find a more workable solution to the dispute.

“Holding multilateral talks is better than bilateral talks. Unequal treaties or agreements are often the result of unequal bargaining strengths. Let us engage in a conference to lessen any tensions arising from this ruling; there is enough tension in the world. There should be a concordant made with all nations on how to settle the operational problems in the use of the waters around these nations under UNCLOS. We must come up with a resolution that would be advantageous to all the claimants,” he said.

The tribunal on Tuesday issued a ruling against China; among its key findings in the 501-page document included: a. China’s ‘nine-dash-line’ is invalid; b. Reclaimed islands have no exclusive economic zone; c. China has behaved unlawfully in interfering with Philippine fishing and mineral activities and constructing artificial islands; and d. Beijing has damaged the environment; among others.

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