By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA — The Chinese government will agree on a 60-40 sharing scheme in favor of the Philippines only if Manila will set aside the landmark Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on the South China Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday.
“Set aside your claim. Then allow everybody connected with the Chinese companies,” Duterte said, relaying to the media his conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Filipino leader’s fifth visit to Beijing on Aug. 29, 2019.
“They want to explore and if there is something sabi nila (they said), ‘We would be gracious enough to give you 60 percent.’ Forty lang ang kanila (Only 40 percent for them). That is the promise of Xi Jinping,” Duterte said, recalling his exchanges with the Chinese leader, during a press conference in Malacañang.
Duterte said he raised the 2016 PCA verdict, which invalidates China’s nine-dash line that claims almost 80 percent of the strategic water, but Beijing maintained its position.
“Sabi ng China (said), ‘That is ours,'” he said. “Meaning to say the only way to retake is to declare war. Go there and sink all their ships.”
“You know, China is there. He holds the property under the claim of ownership. ‘Yan ang sagot niya (That was his answer). It is ours, we will not budge,” he added, referring to Xi’s reply when Duterte raised The Hague ruling.
When asked if the proposed 60-40 exploration of oil and gas resources will cover the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Duterte said the country’s 200-nautical mile EEZ “is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity.”
In the same media briefing, Duterte scored former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario for China’s eventual possession of the Scarborough Shoal when the Philippines withdrew during a standoff in 2012.
“If we are ready to do that, okay lang. But kung mag-attack tayo (it’s okay, But if we will attack), I want del Rosario and (Senior Associate Justice Antonio) Carpio leading the way,” he said. (PNA)