News / Asia

    Philippines Looking to Resolution of Arbitration Case Against China

    Filipino student activists hold mock Chinese ships to protest recent island-building and alleged militarization by China off the disputed Spratlys group of islands in the South China Sea during a rally near the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Ph
    Filipino student activists hold mock Chinese ships to protest recent island-building and alleged militarization by China off the disputed Spratlys group of islands in the South China Sea during a rally near the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Ph

    Philippine officials say they are hopeful the country’s arbitration case against China over disputed territory in the South China Sea will be decided in April or May.

    Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose said Thursday the department is basing its timeframe on how long it has taken the tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to act between hearings. 

    China is not participating, but Jose said the court’s decision, whatever it may be, would stand.

    “Even the court is telling China that the decision is binding on both the Philippines and China,” said Jose.  “So the Philippines and other countries are calling on China to respect the forthcoming decision of the tribunal.”

    In January 2013, the Philippines filed a complaint with the arbitral tribunal questioning what it called China’s “excessive claim” to practically the entire South China Sea.  The Philippines cited China’s so-called nine-dash line, a U-shaped swath of the sea spanning from Hainan Island in the north to waters near Malaysia in the south. 

    FILE - This file aerial view taken on July 27, 2012 shows part of the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing, also known as Woody island in the disputed Paracel chain, which China now considers part of Hainan province.
    FILE - This file aerial view taken on July 27, 2012 shows part of the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing, also known as Woody island in the disputed Paracel chain, which China now considers part of Hainan province.

    It also wanted clarification on whether certain formations, which it said fell within its 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, were rocks or islands.

    China responded that it would not participate, reiterating that it rejects arbitration and had opted out of the dispute settlement mechanism when it signed onto the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    China Foreign Minister Wang Yi brought up this point last week during a debriefing at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

    He also said the Philippines did not follow international rules when it did not meet one-on-one with China to try to resolve their differences in the South China Sea and instead “took [them] to international court.”

    China says it has “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea’s islands, based on historical maps.  The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims in the resource-rich, heavily traversed sea. 

    Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement this week that the Philippines and China had had “countless meetings” to try to resolve the issue, “to no avail.”  

    Maritime law professor Jay Batongbacal of the University of the Philippines Institute of International Law Studies said the tribunal will likely find in favor of Manila on some of the 15 issues raised by the Philippines.  In particular, he said, it might deem the nine-dash line illegal.

    If that happens, Batongbacal said, “The problem will really be on China’s part in the sense that it will… have to keep justifying, at every opportunity, whatever it does in the South China Sea, especially those actions that appear to contradict the ruling.  So it will be harder for them basically to convince the world that their actions or activities are justifiable.”

    Also, he said, the Philippines would have to “keep the pressure up on China” so that it changes its behavior and policies to conform to whatever will be directed in the decision. 

    In the past two years, China has turned seven formations, mostly disputed by the Philippines and listed in its case, into artificial islands. Beijing’s recent placements of missiles and radar stations on some of the islands have also raised tensions in the region.

    Batongbacal said the court would not compel China to remove the artificial islands.  But he said the court might put out a statement saying the construction of the islands is “inconsistent with China’s obligations under international law” because they were made while the case was pending and basically prejudiced the rights of the parties.

    Batongbacal reiterated that whatever the tribunal decides, its mandate does not include determining the sovereignty of any of the disputed formations. 

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    March 04, 2016 10:20 AM
    The CCP claims China respects rule of law & int'l law. CCP believes China has sovereignty rights over the entire South China Sea. If that's so, then let the PRC defend its claims in court. This is the legal way to solve territorial disputes. Instead the PRC is relying on its military & threat of force to get its way and bully its Asian neighbors. This is what the rise of China means: PRC imperialism/hegemonism.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    March 03, 2016 8:16 AM
    The South China Sea and East China Sea are international waters. The world doesn't need arbitration, it needs a judge, jury, and executioner to send the force necessary to convince China that it cannot steal the ocean and that any and all measures will be used if it tries.

    That's the same lesson Russia needs to be taught about stealing land from other nations like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. These criminals who talk about international law when it suits them are the worst violators. But when you have a spineless President of the United States who will not stand up to these military incursions, the criminals rule the world. President Obama, you are a failure and your failure is sowing the seeds of future wars.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 03, 2016 3:03 PM
    Hey Marcus _ I hate to differ with you, but the US could never assemble an army large enough with the heavy weapons needed with the air and sea power to defeat China or Russia in any conventional war, and the Chinese and the Russians couldn't do it either? .. This is just another US proxy war, but it's fought in the news media with propaganda? .. Think about it? .. It'd be impossible for the US to assemble a military force large enough in Asia (or anywhere else) to defeat China in their motherland? .. Remember, we (the US) didn't defeat any of those 3rd world countries we fought in those conventional wars, did we? .. Now? .. Give to Caesar, what is Caesar's? .. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's better than a nuclear war, isn't it? .. Make sure you know how long that chain is, before you throw rocks at that vicious dog?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora