Locsin refuses to bring complaints vs China before UN: 'I trust no one'

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin joins the United Nations General Assembly (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin, Jr. stressed anew that it would be futile to raise China's misdeeds in the West Philippine Sea before the United Nations General Assembly, as it could do more harm than good to the country's sovereign rights.

"I can’t afford to lose our arbitral award. I don’t want to go down in history as the guy who lost it," Locsin told CNN Philippines' The Source, saying the Philippines is unlikely to get enough votes among UN member-states to stand up against Beijing.

"I'm saying I trust no one because when we started it, we were alone," he added. "Right now, we are in the lead in protesting China's actions in our territory in the South China Sea. No other country comes close to us... even Vietnam follows us under my watch."

Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and self-governing Taiwan also have their own territorial claims in the South China Sea. Other states have been doing their own pushback against China.

The United States has been aggressively rejecting China's actions in the disputed waters, having blacklisted state-run companies and officials involved in the reclamation and militarization of these waters.

RELATED: China increases military drills as tensions with US heat up

Retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, meanwhile, has repeatedly lobbied for joint patrols in the South China Sea as a show of strength.

"The smaller the country, the more insular its character in that sense similar to us, the more likely they will not vote with us because they need all the help they can get," Locsin said, pointing out that China has been aggressive with developmental projects and grants to foreign states.

The top diplomat pointed out how previous efforts of the Philippines were voted down to just mention the 2016 arbitral award that rejected Beijing's sweeping claims in the South China Sea in a UN Resolution.

Locsin again warned that bringing up conflicting territorial claims could upset the country's clear legal victory from the Hague, as it could trigger a reopening of the case which could suddenly be interpreted differently.

The rule of law has been the major argument against China's incursions and island-building activities in the disputed waters. However, it's not as easy when diplomacy and aid talks come in, Locsin noted. "When you go into the discussions on the floor of the General Assembly and in the voting, I’m afraid it’s self-interest that governs," he added.

The Philippines has resorted to filing diplomatic protests whenever it confirms China's incursions involving waters and features within its exclusive economic zone. Just this month, the DFA lodged a complaint against the Chinese Coast Guard's confiscation of the fishing gear of Filipino fishermen, a move denounced by Beijing as an "illegal provocationillegal provocation."

"I don't expect China to say the Philippines is correct. We know we’re correct and so does the international tribunal, I think that's what counts," Locsin said.