Romualdez hopes Biden will continue to recognize arbitral tribunal’s ruling on South China Sea

Published January 21, 2021, 7:15 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines’ top diplomat in Washington, D.C. is confident that the administration of United States President Joseph R. Biden will continue to recognize the July 2016 Arbitral Tribunal decision on the South China Sea that handed the Philippines its victory over China.

US Ambassador to Washington, D.C. Jose Manuel Romualdez (

“First and foremost is the policy on the West Philippine Sea for instance. The policy shifted during the time of President Trump, they recognized our arbitral award, will be continued by the Biden administration,” US Ambassador to Washington, D.C. Jose Manuel Romualdez told the CNN Philippines in an interview on Thursday. 

Romualdez was referring to the announcement made by former US State Secretary Michael Pompeo in July 2020, officially acknowledging that China’s u-shaped expansive claims in the South China Sea were “completely unlawful.”

The US policy, as declared by Pompeo last year, aligns Washington with the ruling in The Hague in favor of the Philippine petition to invalidate China’s claims in the volatile region.

The Philippines, along with Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

In the same interview, Romualdez, an appointee of President Duterte, expressed his confidence that relations between the Philippines and the United States will run smoothly under the new US presidency.

“We’re confident that this relationship is going to continue and we’ve had a good start,” he said, even as some ranking US lawmakers belonging to the now ruling Democrats have been critical of Duterte’s human rights record.