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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs