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By Prince Golez

Malacañang on Friday thanked France, Germany, and the United Kingdom for rejecting China’s claim to the South China Sea (SCS).

In a note verbale filed with the United Nations in New York, the European states said China’s sweeping territorial claims in the disputed region do not comply with international law and UNCLOS provisions.

They also recalled the Philippines’ legal victory against China on the SCS in 2016.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa mga bansang ito dahil hindi naman mabubura yung panalo natin sa arbitral tribunal na nagsasabi na walang legal na basehan yung kini-claim ng China na ang halos buo ng South China Sea na ngayon ay West Philippine Sea ay nasa ilalim ng soberenya ng Tsina at walang daw pong legal na basehan yung historical claims to maritime territories,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

Roque also denied that the Duterte administration, who sees a friend in China, has been quiet on the sea row.

“Yung desisyon itself is the victory, yung pagkakaroon ng desisyon itself is the act of being assertive. Dahil kung hindi natin pinursue yung kaso na yan, hindi magkakroon ng desisyon,” according to him.

“Pero sa international law, unfortunately, wala tayong pulis na mapupuntahan para mapatupad ang desisyon na yan at limited ang ating options doon sa assumption na ang mga bansa ng daigdig ay boluntaryong susunod sa kanilang international obligation,” he added.

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