23 September 2020
Mounting domestic pressure led President Rodrigo Duterte to make his most strident defence yet of a 2016 arbitration ruling in favour of the Philippines’ claims in the South China Sea, one analyst has said, as critics of the leader welcomed his maiden speech before the UN General Assembly. “The award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded speech aired in New York.
Dr Collin Koh, research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said Duterte’s speech could help “silence critics” and divert attention away from a host of domestic issues. “After this speech, the Duterte administration is more than likely to stick to the pre-existing policy of engaging Beijing on multiple fronts, especially economic,” Koh said.
IDSS / Print
Last updated on 27/09/2020