News / Asia

Philippines Eyes Swift Conclusion of S. China Sea Arbitration

FILE - Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Manila, Sept. 4, 2013.
FILE - Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Manila, Sept. 4, 2013.
Simone Orendain
The Philippines is pressing forward with its legal challenge to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Philippine officials this week said they were hopeful the U.N. arbitration body could issue a ruling sooner than initially expected.

A top diplomat says the country is hopeful that the panel of the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea will have a ruling before President Benigno Aquino’s term ends in 2016.  Philippine officials had previously said the case would take three to four years to complete.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
This week Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told an audience in Manila that pursuing arbitration was the only viable option after Manila had “exhausted all diplomatic avenues” to try to settle its dispute with Beijing over contested rocks and outcroppings in the South China Sea.

“China’s continuous overwhelming naval and maritime presence in the area is also contributing to the raising of regional tensions,” he said.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have partial or total claims to the resource-rich and highly traversed sea.  China maintains it has indisputable sovereignty over nearly the entire sea.

The Philippines filed its case in January under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that coastal nations are entitled to maritime territory that extends some 22 kilometers offshore. It also provides for a 370 kilometer economic exclusion zone for fishing and mining natural resources. While China has signed the convention, it has rejected the Philippine case.  Beijing has not responded to any of the subsequent proceedings, effectively making the Philippines the only active party.

Last week Paul Reichler, the Philippines’ lead counsel, told the Wall Street Journal that if China continues “to hold to its position” he expects an award to come down by mid-to-late 2014.

Carl Thayer, a researcher on South China Sea disputes at the Australia Defense Force Academy, says international adjudicators, who are not connected to the case, have mixed views on the outcome.

He says there are two hurdles the Philippines must overcome before the tribunal can even hear its case.

“That the arbitral tribunal has jurisdiction, in other words it does not touch on matters that China has exempted itself from and that the Philippines’ claim is well-founded in law.  And I think the latter is very strong,” he said.

China's position

Thayer explains that before Beijing signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, it chose to opt out of international jurisdiction over some territorial issues, effectively forbidding outside scrutiny of some issues. The Philippines is trying to convince the U.N. tribunal to reaffirm its own territorial claim based on international law.

During a regular news briefing in Beijing Friday, VOA asked Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying if China plans to participate in the U.N. tribunal when the Philippines submits evidence for its claims in March.

She said China does not accept the arbitration request submitted by the Philippines side. She also urged the Philippines to resolve the dispute through bilateral negotiation.

Last month, China hosted a meeting with the 10-member Association of Southeast Nations to discuss how they would implement the conditions of an 11-year old non-binding pledge to peacefully manage the disputes in the South China Sea.  The Philippines has been pushing for negotiations on a legally binding code and is trying to drum up international support for it.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: daphne from: Malaysis
October 29, 2013 4:07 AM
Back off CHINA dont come to Borneo You are not God you dont have a right to take our oil.you are so gready you want to take all our Mineral not a chance and this is why other countries dont want you take part because you such a jerk


by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
October 26, 2013 10:10 AM
Go China go!

In Response

by: daphne from: Malaysia
October 29, 2013 3:01 AM
China really a big bully you don't have a right to take Brunei and Malaysia part you are violiating the law of human right. I am chinese from Malaysia I don't agreed with your action Borneo is our land you don't have the right to intruding our resources. We ASEAN country should stand firm with our own part. CHINA You are not right.

In Response

by: Joel Montel from: U.S. of A.
October 27, 2013 9:45 PM
China is nothing but a BIG BULLY. Eventually the will pay. Let's start by not buying anything from China. Some of there products are tainted or safe for human consumption..ex: baby formula, toys, building materials etc.


by: joe from: langoon
October 25, 2013 3:27 PM
BEST WAY TO DEFEAT CHINA IS:
"STOP BUYING CHINESE MADE PRODUCTS" !!!!!!


by: Temujin from: San Diego
October 25, 2013 3:08 PM
Vietnam should join hands with Phillippines to sue china for greed claims of their territorial water at same time to build a credible naval force to deter any chinese aggression and provocation. Vietnam and Philipines must support Tibet and Ughurstan independence movements, if the chinese didn't respect your sovereignties than why should anyone respect their.

In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
October 26, 2013 10:05 AM
Apparently, China already talked Vietnam away from it through the recent visiting of China by the Vietnam leader.
Divid and rule, carrot and stick, lol that is politics. Philippines is waiting for the stick, hahaha


by: Advisor from: US
October 25, 2013 11:50 AM
The best thing for China to do is to learn from the US to withdraw from the so called U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea!

In Response

by: kulim
October 28, 2013 11:37 AM
China is committed to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea when the case was brought by the Philippines and so even if China withdraw now, she is still liable.

In Response

by: Don Koh
October 25, 2013 5:15 PM
Withdrawing from or not recognizing UNCLOS however, does nothing to exempt one Nation, such as PRC (or USA for that matter) from still violating International Law. That is, one simply can't 'withdraw' from any responsibility or accountability to violations made of International Law (e.g., Customary International Law).

And that's the main issue in this dispute which needs to be resolved in terms of an interim court ruling (not-enforceable) and then via longer-term Rules-based, Code of Conduct for the region.

Thus, the main issue is that PRC-govt's Unilateral claims of indisputable sovereignty over all territories assumed is NOT legal and is a violation of Philippine's rights. i.e., enforcing 'might is right' doctrine over said disputed SCS/WPS territories is not a legal, nor internationally-recognized policy.

Once said unilateral claims of indisputable sovereignty is thrown out, then Ph govt and Beijing can enter into discussions as to how the rest of region can soon commence 'rule-based' bilateral and multilateral CoC.

In Response

by: Temujin from: San Diego
October 25, 2013 3:14 PM
The best option for Philippines is to keep pressuring china on both in term of diplomatic and militarily. Smaller countries (Japan, Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam) must look into powerful china deterrence (thermal nukes)


by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
October 25, 2013 10:41 AM
The bold step taken by Philippines to refer the South China Sea territorial dispute with China to the UN International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea, is a model for other countries such as Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The belligerence of China in the South China Sea can flare up into war at any time threatening world peace. Since China and Philippines have signed the convention on the Law of the Sea, the Philippines action is the best recourse to solve the dispute with China.

China create territorial disputes as part of the expansionist policies and then want to negotiate with each country. There is no end to the negotiations with China with reference to its aggression. China always want one on one negotiation to perpetuate the status quo of aggression and prolong the negotiations indefinitely. India and China negotiated for six decades to resolve the border dispute with no end in sight.

In Response

by: SEATO
October 26, 2013 4:53 AM
Wise comment ! China's expansion policy is,seize the areas by force, hold on to them as long as they can,until they become De facto Chinese territories, as in the case of Tibet, Xinjang, Inner Mongolia and Vietnam's Paracel Islands. Constant threats from China and heavy dependence on the Chinese economy,has deterred Vietnam from denouncing Chinese aggression publicly. It is about time Vietnam should take a tough stance against Chinese aggression

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid