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On Tuesday, July 19, US officials - Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg and US lawmakers, Senators Chris Murphy and Brian Schatz, Congressmen Ted Deutch and John Garamendi, and Congresswoman Donna Edwards paid President Duterte a visit and talked about the landmark ruling on the West Philippine Sea. 

President Duterte was asked by the US delegation about his administration’s next move, now that the ruling was given in favor of the Philippines.

In Senator Murphy’s tweet, he said that President Duterte assured them that he would not give in to China’s demands or claim of the disputed territorial waters. He said, “We were first US elected officials to meet with Duterte. Says he will not trade territorial rights to China. Tribunal decision non-negotiable.”

On other tweets Senator Murphy said, “In Manila – just out of meeting with new Philippine President Duterte. Assured us he has no plans to negotiate with China over islands dispute.”

Duterte earlier mentioned that he plans on holding bilateral talks with China and have chosen former president Fidel V. Ramos as his envoy. Duterte seemed to be saying that he would want China to recognize the arbitral tribunal ruling that favors the Philippines before doing the negotiation.

“China will not allow any negotiation based on the ruling,” said Liu Zhenmin,  Chinese Vice Foreign Minister.  Zhenmin added that unless the Philippines junk the ruling, China would not negotiate.

The tribunal said that Beijing violated Manila’s sovereignty in the Exclusive Economic Zone, and that it is owned by the Philippines. The international tribunal ruled that China had no legal basis whatsoever to ever claim any historic rights to resources within the territory they claim to be theirs. The US’ main goal, however, is to preserve freedom of navigation in the disputed area.

Among the Philippine cabinet officials who attended the meeting were Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

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