By Patricia Lourdes Viray
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government should revisit the joint patrols of the country's exclusive economic zone with the United States and other partners in response to China's alleged threat of war, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.
The former top diplomat also suggested that the government heed the advice of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to file a protest with the United Nations.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier recounted that Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened that Beijing would go to war if Manila extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank or in any area within its EEZ. He claimed that he had raised the matter of the UN arbitral tribunal ruling that China's sweeping nine-dash-line claim over a large part of the South China Sea had no legal basis. The tribunal also ruled that China had violated other claimants' rights by blocking access to Scarborough Shoal, a traditional fishing ground that Manila also calls as Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal.
He said that China President Xi Jinping told him that China values its friendship with the Philippines, "but if you force the issue, we go to war."
Carpio said that China's threat is a gross violation of the UN Charter, UN Convetntion on the Law of the Sea and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, to which China and the Philippines are parties.
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