MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte, in his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly, affirmed on Wednesday the country’s arbitral victory against China’s claims over the South China Sea.
In his speech, Duterte said the Philippines “firmly rejects” any attempt to undermine the July 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that invalidated China’s sweeping claims over the West Philippine Sea.
“The Award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it.”president rodrigo duterte
France, Germany and the United Kingdom last week informed the United Nations of their rejection of China’s “historic rights” in the South China Sea.
The President thanked them for backing the Philippines’ arbitral victory.
“We welcome the increasing number of states that have come in support of the award and what it stands for — the triumph of reason over rashness, of law over disorder, of amity over ambition. This – as it should – is the majesty of the law.”
Duterte was the 12th speaker during the first block of high-level debates after leaders of the United States, Russia, China, and the Republic of Korea, among others.