Favorable ruling on sea row to give PH leverage

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is open to holding bilateral talks with China on resolving disputes in the South China Sea.

But for former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, any bilateral talks should begin after the Permanent Court of Arbitration decides on Manila's case against Beijing.

Related: Manila advised against talks with China over disputed waters

Gregory Poling of the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies says, the Philippines has a winnable case against China.

But the country should expect Beijing to reject an unfavorable ruling.

Rene De Castro, convenor of a forum called National Security and East Asian Affairs Program, says besides a possible favorable court ruling, the country can rely on its Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the U.S. to protect its interests.

De Castro says EDCA will boost the country's external defense.

EDCA is a deal that allows the deployment of American troops and facilities in Philippine military camps.

Duterte previously had said that the country stood to benefit from the deal.

Meanwhile, the U.S. think tanks believes the next U.S. President will honor the military agreement.

But the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is calling on Duterte to stand by his commitment to review and terminate "unfair deals" with the U.S. like the EDCA.