“If the Philippine side would like to carry out this plan, then it should revoke international arbitration in the first place, because that is the third step of its plan,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in the sidelines of ASEAN-China Ministers meeting held last August 9.
“But what it has done today is to jump the first two steps to go directly to the third step,” the Chinese top diplomat said.
According to him, China is willing to halt construction activities in West Philippine Sea and cooperate with the proposal if Philippines will revoke its case filed in the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario brought up Triple Action Plan, Philippine government’s approach to solve maritime dispute in the said meeting.
“When we put the TAP on the table, there were no objections. This is unique for ASEAN that an initiative does not encounter objections. I think people in ASEAN understood that we need to do something. Some spoke out. Some spoke out loudly. I know that there were sectors that believed in quieting things down, but as I said, from some sectors, the reaction was muted,” del Rosario said.
The approach includes three phases which includes arbitration as the final stage. First phase is to fully implement Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea which calls to stop all activities that escalate tension, while the second phase is an early conclusion of a binding Code of Conduct.
China indisputably claims virtually the entire South China Sea including Kalayaan Islands in West Philippine Sea.
Philippines is expecting the decision from the Permanent Court of Arbitration early 2016.