Malacañang reiterated its call to China to respect the 2016 ruling ng Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said, “as far as we are concerned there has been an arbitral ruling issued by a tribunal based on the law on the seas and accepted by international law. So we feel that we have a judgment, a judgment which has a stamp of permanence, it cannot be taken away from us.”

Panelo made the statement following the comments made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman refuting the Philippine government’s position that Pag-asa Island is ours and that Chinese vessels around that island should leave immediately.

However, Panelo admitted that they have expected the aggressive activities of China in the South China Sea considering they “they have been claiming that it’s theirs, necessarily they would do some acts that will be consistent with their position.”

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to attend a business forum in China next week but Panelo can’t confirm if the president will raise the arbitral ruling and the presence of Chinese vessels around Pag-asa Island when he meets with Chinese leaders.