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China proposes bilateral talks, refuses to accept UN ruling

The long-running dispute between China and the Philippines has at last come to a
close when the UN tribunal declares Chinas claims as irrelevant and a violation of
the Philippines sovereign rights. In light of Chinas refusal to accept the rulings, it
has opted for bilateral talks between the Chinese and Filipino government.
After winning favour in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the Philippines is
now in a rut on how to enforce the decision on the West Philippine Sea. The PCA has
no implementing arm. Fishermen are still hesitant to cast their nets and given
Chinas refusal to withdraw, there is good reason for the hesitation. In light of this,
President Rodrigo Duterte mulls over the possibility of bilateral negotiations to
maintain friendly relations with China. He appeals to China, saying, I hope you
treat us as brothers and not as enemies and take note of the plight of our citizens.
He agrees to the bilateral negotiations as long as it respects the arbitration ruling
and sets into consideration the Philippines rights in the West Philippine Sea.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is also confused about how
to handle the situation. Many of the members argue that Chinas relative size and
power gives it an unfair advantage. In fact, China boycotted the proceedings,
reiterating that the tribunal has no authority and jurisdiction and its decisions will be
duly ignored. The country is now under much scrutiny and pressure; its next move
can only set its true position in the international community.