Through the Philippines Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza, acting as legal representative of the Philippines in the arbitration case, challenging China’s claim under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS, the country will be staging such “stalwart” action against China before the international arena.
January 22nd this year, the Philippines submitted a notification to initiate arbitral proceedings pertaining maritime conflict in South China Sea. What does it mean?
It simply means that the Philippines has arrived at a decision to bring the maritime dispute against China into the legal battle based on UNCLOS. Accordingly, the Philippines’ claim over territorial sovereignty in South China Sea should have been recognized based on the international law — UNCLOS, where it gives the country an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and a continental shelf (You may refer to Part V and VI of the 1982 UNCLOS.). In the process, the Philippines seeks a relief to declare China’s claim, “nine-dash line” invalid under UNCLOS.
Now, what is the cream of this crap? (The author used the term “crap” based on his personal assessment regarding the Philippines option to legal battle knowingly that such battle is easy to commence yet difficult to sustain, and the most probable outcome would either be a chilling effect of cold relationship or an outright nonsense considering some ambiguities and complexities involving the South China Sea row among claiming parties.)
In some perspectives, this action initiated by the Philippines would not become an easy approach for the international tribunal to decide either to interpret UNCLOS provisions strictly or to consider other basis very salient to the matter that involves sovereignty.
Furthermore, the Philippines is not a sole claimant over the disputed waters in South China Sea. Simply to say that when Philippines has claimed an exclusive economic zone and continental shelf based on UNCLOS, then so do other parties, especially Vietnam. Should the international tribunal decide the case, it would be an impressively difficult task for them. Then, what would be the most likely the Philippines to expect for? It would be a long, long, wait should the disputing parties rely exclusively on this legal approach.
Given all these possible circumstances, what rather was the salient point of the Philippines in challenging China before the international tribunal? I would rather say in my opinion that the Philippines just wanted to score over China in the international scope, not on its legal claim to be granted but just to register a legitimate voice to the United Nations that a country such Philippines has a formal, legitimate, and a pending maritime claim over the South China Sea, thereby leaving China in its process of territorial claim always be put in question for over the years to come. But leaders come and go; here at least President Aquino will be credited soon after whatever may happen next.
Will China give in?
Still, China has indisputable sovereignty over its claim historically and under its 1992 Law of the People’s Republic of China Concerning the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, which China later on declared it upon ratifying the 1982 UNCLOS on June 7, 1996.
Filed under: Opinion and Social Issues Tagged: | China claims base on international law, nine-dash line of China, Philippines claim over maritime dispute in South China Sea, Philippines-China row before international tribunal, UNCLOS