FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday ordered the Philippine mission to the United Nations to vote also for the candidates of Japan and Germany to the International Court of Justice.
This came after Locsin directed the mission to vote for Xue Hanqin who is China’s candidate to the UN’s judicial body which is tasked with, among others, settling maritime issues among its members.
“DFAPHL@PHMissionNY now you have three candidates to vote for: China, Japan and Germany. The big powers,” Locsin said in a tweet.
“Stop there until further instructions. And remember no quid pro quo. We don’t trade on such important matters,” he added.
UN reports earlier said Manila nominated Japan’s Yuji Iwasawa to the body.
The ICJ will hold elections on November 11, for five seats to be vacated in February next year.
Four of eight candidates contesting the five positions are incumbent judges whose nine-year terms are due to expire in February, including the Chinese and Japanese candidates.
The Philippines can support more than one candidate because there are five vacancies.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines is backing China’s candidate “because of the proven track record of Judge Xue.” The Philippine support for the Chinese candidate is also “a further manifestation of the very close relationship between the Philippines and China.”
Roque said Xue is among the founders of the Asian Society of International Law and is known for his competence, probity and integrity.
Locsin contradicted Roque. “Harry doesn’t know what he is talking about on this score. When it comes to anything foreign affairs, ask the DFA, specifically me, and if I’m not available, wait,” Locsin said in a tweet.
The Philippines under Duterte has been maintaining close ties with China. Duterte even set aside the 2016 arbitral ruling that junked China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea although during the recent 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, he affirmed the ruling, saying it is already part of international law. — With Jocelyn Montemayor