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By Prince Golez

We will agree to disagree.

This was Malacañang’s response to the refusal of China to honor the international ruling that invalidated its nine-dash line claim to the entire South China Sea.

“Unang una, talagang hindi tayo nagkakasundo sa bansang Tsina tungkol diyan sa arbitral award na yan. Sinasabi natin na partido ang Tsina sa UNCLOS na merong mandatory dispute resolution na ginamit natin, at ang naging resulta nga ang award. Let’s just say we will agree to disagree,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during his virtual presser Monday.

Following the 4th anniversary of the historic decision on Sunday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. called for China to respect the arbitral award.

But, in a statement posted on Twitter Monday, the Chinese embassy in Manila, rejected Locsin’s appeal, pointing out that “China’s position is consistent, clear and firm.”

Meanwhile, Roque said the territorial dispute is not the sum total of the relations between the Philippines and China.

“Itong disagreement na ito, hindi naman ito ang sumatotal ng ating relasyon sa Tsina. We will proceed. Isusulong natin ang pupuwede nating isulong sa ating pagkakaibigan sa Tsina, yung mga bagay-bagay na may relasyon sa ekonomiya at kalakal at isasantabi muna natin ang mga bagay na hindi mapagusapan kasama na ang territorial dispute na ito,” he added.

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