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Chickened out? JV Ejercito thinks Duterte’s decision to raise WPS issue with Xi Jinping a big let down

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Senator JV Ejercito is disappointed with President Duterte’s decision to put off earlier plans of bringing up the issue on the West Philippine Sea with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We should still pursue the victory in (The) Hague and defend our territorial integrity at all costs,” Ejercito said.

The senator was referring to the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal’s ruling in July last year dismissing any legal basis for China to claim historic rights within the sea areas falling within the “nine-dash line” which include the West Philippine sea.

The tribunal declared the Philippines have exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

“China obviously has been bullying us and the smaller ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) nations. The only way we can stand up against a super power like China is for ASEAN nations to unite,” Ejercito said.

Shortly before leaving for Vietnam last Wednesday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, the President promised to bring up the issue with the Chinese leader either in a bilateral meeting or during a plenary session.

But last Sunday, the President said the matter which concerns not only China but five other claimants that include the Philippines was better left untouched.

“The South China Sea is better left untouched. Nobody can afford to go to war,” he was quoted saying.