MANILA – The case filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) won’t affect country’s relations with China, according to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I’m sure it won’t. The Philippines is a democratic country and anybody can bring a suit against anybody. But whether or not it would prosper, or whether or not we have the jurisdiction, that’s something else,” he said.
Former Foreign Affairs secretary Alberto del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed a suit against Xi and other Chinese officials before the ICC due to China’s activities to gain control over most of the South China Sea.
According to del Rosario, China’s moves to restrict access to areas in the sea “seriously undermined the food and energy security of the coastal states in the South China Sea, including the Philippines.”
“They are entitled to file the case. They are Filipino citizens and I think we’ll just have to defend our position vis-à-vis sa kanila. They think they have a good case and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China,” said Duterte during the 122nd anniversary of the Philippine Army in Taguig City on Thursday night.
He said the case may not prosper since China is not a member of the ICC.
According to Del Rosario, the situation in the South China Sea “is both unique and relevant because it presents one of the most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment in humanity’s history.”
“It adversely affects and injures not only myriad groups of vulnerable fishermen, including 320,000 Filipino fishermen, but also present and future generations of people across nations,” he added.
The Philippines brought its claim on the sea before an international arbitral tribunal which ruled in favor of Manila in July 2016 and invalidated China’s claim but the latter ignored the ruling./PN