Philippines’ Official Hails S. China Sea Ruling

Philippines’ Official Hails S. China Sea RulingPhilippines’ Official Hails S. China Sea Ruling

A decision invalidating China’s vast claims in the South China Sea was a “crowning glory” that renews faith in international law, the Philippines’ top lawyer said on Friday, in Manila’s strongest comment yet on its sweeping win.

The remarks by Solicitor General Jose Calida follow two days of carefully calibrated responses from the Philippines and are almost certain to irritate China further, Reuters reported.

Manila has so far been keen not to rock the boat in the hope of starting dialogue toward Beijing allowing it to exercise what the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, ruled were its sovereign maritime rights.

“It confirms that no one state can claim virtually an entire sea. The award is a historic win not only for the Philippines ... it renews humanity’s faith in a rules based global order,” Calida told a forum on the South China Sea.

“The award opens a horizon of possibilities for all stakeholders. The award is a crowning glory of international law.”

China has refused to recognize Tuesday’s ruling and did not take part in its proceedings. It has reacted angrily to calls by western countries for the decision to be adhered to.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said Beijing’s position on the case had the support of Laos, the current chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations, a regional bloc long dogged by discord over how to deal with China’s maritime assertiveness.

The verdict was discussed on Thursday between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith ahead a regional summit in Mongolia.

“Thongloun said that Laos supports China’s position, and is willing to work with China to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region,” the ministry said in a statement.