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President of the Philippines: South China Sea Arbitration Ruling Cannot Be Challenged

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said in his UN speech that The Hague International Arbitration Tribunal’s 2016 South China Sea award cannot be challenged or downplayed. The Philippines is strongly against any attempt to destroy the Tribunal’s Ruling. Duterte did not name China in his speech. China did not honor the Tribunal’s award. However, the Duterte government took a pro-China approach when it came to power in 2016 with the hope of building a better relationship with China. The Philippines largely put The Hague’s South China Sea award on hold since then. In the past several months with the Covid pandemic, the Duterte government has started to lean towards the United States. Experts expressed the belief that the foreign policies of the Philippines are apparently changing.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, September 23, 2020