News / Asia

Philippines Files Pleadings in Case Against China

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario delivers a statement during a news conference in Manila, March 30, 2014.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario delivers a statement during a news conference in Manila, March 30, 2014.
Simone Orendain
On Sunday, The Philippines submitted supporting documents to an international tribunal in The Hague in its case against China over competing South China Sea claims. 

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the country’s legal team put together 10 volumes that amounted to nearly 4,000 pages of material to support the merits of its case.  He said the submission, called a “memorial,” is in the Philippines’ national interest and is about “defending what is legitimately” theirs.

“It is about securing our children’s future.  It is about guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations.  It is about helping to preserve regional peace, security and stability.  And finally, it is about seeking not just any kind of resolution but a just and durable solution grounded [in] international law,” he said.

In January last year, the Philippines took its grievances to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea over what it calls China’s “excessive claims” in the South China Sea.  The Philippines questions whether there is any legal basis for China’s claim of ownership over more than 70 percent of the sea.  It is also seeking reassurance that features it says are part of its continental shelf and well within its 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, as defined by international law, cannot be claimed by anyone else.

These shoals, reefs and atolls in the heavily travelled sea sit atop abundant fishing grounds and potentially vast hydrocarbon resources.

China does not recognize international arbitration and has not responded to the case.  It bases its claim on ancient maps and says it has “indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea Islands and their adjacent waters.”  Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have partial or entire claims in the sea.

Security analyst Rommel Banlaoi heads the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research in Manila.  He said the case could open the floodgates. “Many, many claimants are considering the possibility of arbitration, but they are not ready yet.  They are watching [where] the developments of Philippine arbitration would lead,” he stated.

Banlaoi said there is also the possibility that if the tribunal finds in favor of the Philippines, China would simply opt out of being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  And he said even with the case filed, China will continue increased policing of the waters to assert its claims.

In 1995, China put up structures on Mischief Reef, which is about 200 kilometers west of Palawan Province and claimed by the Philippines.  For nearly two years, Chinese surveillance ships have kept local fishermen out of Scarborough Shoal, 225 kilometers west of Zambales province, which was the site of tense standoff between ships from the two countries in 2012.  

Earlier this month, Chinese surveillance ships blocked a Philippine vessel trying to send provisions to an installation at Second Thomas Shoal.  The facility is a grounded Philippine ship where some military personnel are stationed.  Then just Saturday, two Chinese civilian ships tried again to stop a provision ship carrying some journalists from entering the same shoal, also west of Palawan.

The arbitration tribunal will next have to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the case.  Philippine officials say their submission demonstrates that it does.

You May Like

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid