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

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora