President Rodrigo Duterte called for peaceful resolution between the Philippines and China as well as an end to acts of intimidation by more powerful nations.
“There can be no real peace if the strong trample the weak,” he said.
Duterte also invoked the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), calling it the sole acceptable basis for maritime order.
This statement came mere days after Chinese coast guard ships shot water cannons at two Philippine boats that were delivering food supplies to a military detachment in the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.
Despite Beijing’s claims that Ayungin Shoal is their territory and that the Philippines should remove the BRP Sierra Madre from the area, the government has said that they will “fully exercise” the nation’s sovereign rights over the shoal, which is part of the the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana likewise reminded Beijing that the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in the Philippines’ favor regarding the area in 2016.
Following the incident which occurred on Nov. 19, Australia, Japan, France, Germany and Canada echoed the United Nations call for China to obey international maritime laws as well as The Hague ruling.