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This post was edited by abramicus at 2016-8-29 16:25|
Finally, Duterte made his move. He asked the Chinese ambassador to work toward allowing Filipino fishermen to fish again in the South China Sea. He also mentioned he is not mentioning the PCA ruling (which has no legal validity under UNCLOS rules) at the present, but will mention it at the end. He also said he does not want war, but if China keeps driving off his fishermen, he cannot avoid bloodshed.
The answer to this tripartite proposition can be simplified as follows.
Temporary permission for Filipino fishermen to fish can be negotiated as to location, duration, and volume of catch, provided bona fide negotiations on all other disputes are in progress. This permission can be withdrawn at any time if China decides her national interest is endangered by its continuation, such as if foreign forces use the fishing activity to further their hostile objectives against China, or if endangerment of the lives of Chinese fishermen occurs.
The mention of the PCA ruling will automatically terminate all permissions, temporary or permanent, as China does not recognize the jurisdiction or the ruliing of the PCA, before, now and for all times. In fact, its having been mentioned nullifies this track of negotiation. Another track must be started without such mention. In short, the ambassador cannot report this remark to the central government, and cannot offer any response to it, other than China does not recognize any PCA ruling. If there were ongoing negotiations, the ambassador would have to excuse himself immediately to show China does not recognize this kangaroo award and will not dignify it with any negotiation.
Enforcement of sovereignty can be suspended, but cannot be surrendered, and avoidance of force being used depends not only on the Chinese coast guard enforcing China's sovereignty, but also on the Filipino fishermen, adhering to the negotiated fishing privileges granted. Avoidance of force is therefore achievable only after both sides have agreed on a set of behaviors each side must adhere to, not before. Thus, it is best to begin talks, and in order to begin talks, the Philippines will have to start from another point of departure, not on the meeting between Duterte and the Chinese ambassador. The Ambassador can simply say he is not authorized to deal with any activity or statement that infers the validity of the illegal award of the PCA in any form, at any time, for any reason. Maybe, ex-Pres. Ramos can have a better chance at starting the talks, purely on fishing rights. Again, if he mentions the PCA ruling to the press or to China, the talks will have to begin somewhere else. There is no run-around the fact that the PCA ruling is illegal under the rules of the UNCLOS, and to uphold the rule of law, and have legally valid agreements with the Philippines, this brazen violation of Article 98 of UNCLOS, prohibiting mandatory arbitration over matters involving sovereignty without the consent of both countries, will not be explicitly or implicitly (or tacitly) accepted as precondition to the talks.