A retired ambassador said Tuesday that instead of using the name West Philippine Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte should consider using the original name “South China Sea”. referring to the portion of the vast sea within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
The aim is to show a gesture of goodwill to China following the government’s victory in its international arbitration case. The ambassador explained.
Former Ambassador Jose Apolinario Lozada said a mistake has been made when former President Benigno Aquino III issued an order discarding the name “South China Sea”.
Lozada said in an interview with the ABS-CBN News that “the first thing that we should really do is… let’s try to be magnanimous by giving back the name as the South China Sea.”
“For the Chinese, this is really very important…In the first place, it’s only the Philippines that calls it West Philippine Sea.” Lozada said.
Taking after the decision, which discredited the basis of China’s claim to most of the resource-rich waters, the Duterte administration is now studying its next move of having an envoy to Beijing and one of the names being considered is the former President Fidel V. Ramos.
Lozada, a previous Ramos counsel on foreign affairs, said the 88-year-old former president has the “stature and knowledge” for the job.
Former President Fidel Ramos sister, Leticia Ramos-Shahani which is also a former Senator and a diplomat said, “He has a lot of experience in negotiations especially in back-channeling and in keeping quiet at the right time.”
Lozada said the envoy should tell the Chinese that “we are giving them more importance now than before.”
“The most troublesome part after this is to persuade China to recognize the authority of the Philippines over the islands and hopefully they will quietly leave. But if they will not leave then we will have to extend our hand of friendship to them and convince them that they are also a priority to our lives,”he said.
Lozada said The Philippines should also need the support of countries who have been helping us. The assistance and backing of allies such as the United States, Japan, Canada, and Australia to help enforce the court decision forcing China to respect the arbitration ruling. – Carl E.