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Philippines Urges Quick Ruling in Sea Dispute with China

FILE - Protesters display placards with images of national revolutionary hero Apolinario Mabini as they march to the Chinese consulate office in Makati, Metro Manila, June 12, 2014.
The Philippines is urging a United Nations tribunal to speed up its ruling on Manila's case against China's claims in the South China Sea.

It is estimated that it will take several years for the tribunal to issue a decision in the case, which was filed by the Philippines in March.

China does not recognize international arbitration of the dispute and has refused to defend itself or otherwise take part in the proceedings.

Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says because China is not participating, he has asked his legal team "to present a request to hasten the process."

Del Rosario said "the situation is getting worse every day in the South China Sea," noting Beijing continues to expand its claims and reclaim land in the area.

He said Manila may also urge the tribunal to issue a ruling that orders China to stop construction work in disputed areas while the case is still being heard.

The Philippines is challenging the legality of China's so-called "nine-dash line," which outlines Beijing's claims to 90 percent of the South China Sea.

Manila says the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS, gives it sole exploitation rights over natural resources within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone off its coast.

The ruling is being watched closely not only in the Philippines, but also in Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia, which also have competing claims with China in the sea.

However, any ruling in the Philippines' favor may be largely symbolic, since analysts say there is no enforcement mechanism for the court's rulings.