By Roy Mabasa
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario on Tuesday urged Beijing to “pursue the wise path of moderation, reason and fairness” in resolving the issue of the South China Sea. (SCS).
Del Rosario made this call in an open letter addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping who is embarking on a two-day state visit to the Philippines beginning Tuesday.
“Perhaps, now is the most auspicious moment in the history of our region. Anticipating that we can all build a future together, we sincerely hope that Beijing will pursue the wise path of moderation, reason and fairness with China taking into full account the legitimate national interest of its neighbors,” Del Rosario said in his letter to the Chinese leader.
Given China’s present stature and power, Del Rosario said it is imperative that China play its “proper role in adhering to the rule of law” to preserve stability, security and peace in the world.
“China would possess, moreover, an incredible opportunity to stand as a champion of principle, fairness and inclusiveness in disputes and disagreements in the world,” he added.
Nevertheless, Del Rosario underscored the importance of Xi’s visit to the relationship between the Manila and Beijing and the centuries-old ties between its peoples that predates the advent of the West in Asia.
“We Filipinos look forward to the success of your visit to our country. Much is invested in terms of hope in what the Philippines and China, as sovereign equals, can achieve together,” he said.
Del Rosario also noted China’s contribution to the Asian economic miracle in the 21stcentury that has lifted millions out of poverty under its domestic development policies.
“Today, China is admired as the workshop of the world. Tomorrow it will earn greater accolades as a mighty factory of the new global economy driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the instrument of Artificial Intelligence. Embracing globalization has brought China unimaginable dividends making it virtually the second largest in the world,” the former DFA secretary said.
Del Rosario was the foreign secretary when the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China before the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague in January 2013.
On July 12, 2016, the United Nations-backed arbitration court ruled in favor of the Philippines petition.