Beijing has opposed the 2016 landmark ruling and have said they will continue to do so despite President Rodrigo Duterte planning to mention it. Duterte, who has previously been criticised for not pushing back China’s dominance in the waters, said “it’s time” to start talking. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said Beijing will not “accept or recognise it”.
According to the Inquirer, Zhao told reporters: “We expressed that we will not accept it.
“We will not recognise that. That remains. Our position has not changed and we will not be changed.”
Duterte said at the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry: “Let’s talk about the arbitral ruling. I’m going to China to talk.”
He added he didn’t want to fight with his Chinese counterpart.
The current Manila administration has avoided actively pursuing a ruling from a tribunal in The Hague that said Recto Bank was within their exclusive economic zone.
Mr Durterte is believed to view enforcing the ruling as counter-productive as it will jeopardise economic and diplomatic links with China, who have ignored the warning.
Beijing and Manila’s claims overlap over Scarborough Shoal (also claimed by Taiwan), the Spratly Islands (claimed in part also by Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia).
One-third of global shipping passes through the region.
This sees the carrying of $3trillion (£2.5trillion) worth of trade.
Zhao added: “We should focus on the things that will benefit our common development, that will benefit the peoples of the two countries.”
He said China would not attempt to gain a larger share than the Philippines’ on the oil and gas resources in the region.
Zhao proposed a 60-40 split which favours Manila in regard to the oil reserves found in the sea.