September 6, 2023
MANILA – If China will not respect international laws, it should opt out of the United Nations, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Tuesday.
Remulla made the statement after he was asked about other measures taken by the Marcos administration aside from the over 400 diplomatic protests against China’s aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea.
As Justice Secretary, Remulla is part of the Cabinet cluster on national security. He said: “We are continuously assessing and studying the issues.”
“Marami kaming ginagawa ngayon na hindi pa siguro maaaring pag usapan at lalabas lang sa tamang panahon ngunit tuloy tuloy ang aming pag aaral sa lahat ng bagay na nangyayari,” Remulla said.
(We are currently studying many options, but we cannot yet disclose it, and will only be made public at the right time. However, we are continuously studying all the issues taking place.)
He said Beijing should adhere to and respect international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to ease tension in the South China Sea (SCS).
“Dapat igalang nila ang UNCLOS where they are part of the convention. They cannot choose what to respect and what not to respect in the UN. Dapat matuto silang gumalang sa batas,” Remulla said.
(They should respect UNCLOS as part of the convention. They cannot choose what to respect and what not to respect.)
“The UNCLOS is recognized as law by all the member-states of the UN, and China is still a member of the UN. If they don’t want to be a member of the UN, then probably, they must opt-out if they cannot respect UN conventions,” he added.
Both Manila and Beijing are signatories to the 1982 UNCLOS.
The Philippines anchored its arbitral case against China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea on the UNCLOS.
But China refused to recognize the 2016 arbitral ruling and insisted on bilateral talks to address the maritime territorial dispute while it continued with its aggressive activities in the South China Sea.
The Philippines, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan are claiming parts, or in the case of Beijing, nearly the whole SCS, contributing to tension in the area.
All, except Brunei, have stationed troops in the respective islands they claimed as their own in the disputed waterway through which more than $5 trillion in goods passes annually.