Breaking News, World News and Taiwan News.

Manila deals a clever hand with desire for arbitration

In the past year, China and the Philippines have been fighting a war of words over disputed islands in the South China Sea, and ASEAN unity on the issue has come under pressure.

Last week, Manila surprised observers when Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario handed Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing a note notifying Beijing it was seeking international arbitration to declare Beijing's moves in the oil-rich waters as “unlawful” under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

“The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime disputes with China,” Rosario said last Tuesday at a news conference. On the surface, the attempt looks like a long shot. China has repeatedly said it has “indisputable sovereignty” over islands in the South China Sea and its adjacent waters. Beijing prefers bilateral talks to resolve the dispute, and for other claimant states not to internationalize the issue.

More importantly, China had in 2006 excluded itself from dispute settlement mechanisms available under Unclos. This relates to issues pertaining to maritime delineation, historic bays and military activities. Hence, China will not be compelled to participate in the arbitral tribunal.

But if one examines Manila's case, as detailed in a 21-page note verbale with notification and statement of claim released last Tuesday, the Philippines does have some tricks up its sleeve.

The document states that Manila is not asking the tribunal to decide on which country enjoys sovereignty over the islands, nor a delimitation of any maritime boundaries. And Manila did not raise any subjects China has excluded from arbitral jurisdiction.

Instead, the Philippines is calling on the tribunal to decide on a major issue — whether China's so-called nine-dash or nine-dotted line claim to nearly the entire South China Sea is lawful.

Within the maritime area encompassed by the nine-dash line, China has also laid claim to, occupied and built structures on certain “submerged banks, reefs and low tide elevations that do not qualify as islands under Unclos but are parts of the Philippine continental shelf,” Manila's statement said. These features include Mischief Reef, which China occupied in 1995. China also occupied what the Philippines calls Scarborough Shoal last June.

By asking the tribunal to decide on the legality of China's nine-dash line under Unclos, the Philippines has essentially dealt a clever hand — China might have to clarify the extent and basis for its nine-dotted line claim.

This is something that many analysts have been calling for. Singapore's former senior minister S. Jayakumar said in 2011 that China should clarify its “puzzling and disturbing” nine-dotted lines map, since it had no apparent basis under Unclos and could be interpreted as a claim of all maritime areas within those lines.

January 30, 2013    norodin.lucman@
By bringing the case to the UN cold files, the Spratly issue becomes moot and academic. What is there to gain by infuriating China and create instability in the volatile region on top of degrading the United Nations as a mere paper tiger?
January 30, 2013    marco24meduranda@
China should drop the imperialistic stance towards the South China Sea. It should be the region's big brother; not the big bully. I hope China respects international laws and adhere to a rule-based measure in the disputed waters.
January 30, 2013    sirchalagat@
China’s bullying tactics and double talk should be stopped! It’s clear as daylight that their claims are illegal.
January 30, 2013    mdionesio@
China's claim of some parts of our territory is illegal. They must respect the Philippines 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. If we are going to have talks with the government of China, then we will be lose because China is so clever. I think bringing this kind of problem to the UN is a good move for the UN is our great equalizer. China must respect our sovereign rights irrespective for how big you are or what is your naval forces.
January 30, 2013    rodwatson@
There's milions of squatters in the Philippines who steal land every day, and the PH government protects them with the Lina Law. I know many land owners who bought completely empty land years ago and whose land was stolen by squatters. The land owners paid all their taxes but the corrupt mayors, police, judges and other government officials just help the squatters and EXTORT millions of pesos from legit land owners. Some of these land owners are dead already and they never got their land back. THE PHILIPPINES IS A HOUSE OF THIEVES. THEY DON'T RESPECT LAND TITLES AND MAPS. NO ONE SHOULD EXPECT FILIPINOS TO BE HONEST AND NOBODY SHOULD INVEST THERE OR GO THERE.
January 30, 2013    greedychinx@
China has no ba**s! Insanity has no cure.
Ur nine dash line has no basis.
January 30, 2013    baguionoli@
China go to hell! Stop claiming our land! CHINA MADE PRODUCTS ARE GARBAGE! NO QUALITY AT ALL!
January 30, 2013    tonyongpinoy@
It's not about "what can be gained from infuriating China" but on deciding once-and for-all if China's so-called 9-dash line is according to the UNCLOS which China itself is a signatory. It will be decided soon if China adheres to the modern internationals law as a sign of its forward progress or does it adhere to the outdated law of the jungle as a sign of China's backwardness. For us Filipinos, we are happy to do WHATEVER THAT CHINA DOES NOT WANT US TO DO. It's a sign that we are not deterred by China's irresponsible saber-rattling in areas it does not own.
January 30, 2013    ianstrauss@
Manila took many by surprise when it tabled its “well-written” submission last week, the ASEAN diplomat said. “To be honest, overall expectations of the Philippine diplomatic service are low. But what they did do is to listen to good legal advice. The submission was written by someone who really knew his job. They have stunned us by being so together on this case.”


Stupid fools. Do not underestimate the capabilities and intelligence of Filipinos. It doesn't mean that if it’s well written and well planned, it already came from somewhere else.

Brains will always bear brawns in a civilized world.
January 31, 2013    itchybitchyspiderman@
What a swipe at Philippines diplomatic service by fellow ASEAN diplomat. That’s what the ASEAN community & solidarity is about.
January 31, 2013    ericgeneric1976@
Why does China bully the poorly equipped Philippine military? Try to encroach into Russian territory or US territorial water. They will be kicked in the a** by those countries. They enter into the Philippine territorial water close to the country itself. That is a foolish move by China. Chinese government are stupid colonial thinking. They don’t own the world. They can’t touch Japan coz Japan will fight back and fight hard for its right on its territorial rights.
January 31, 2013    larsherbark@
norodin.lucman@ wrote:
By bringing the case to the UN cold files, the Spratly issue becomes moot and academic. What is there to gain by infuriating China and create instability in the volatile region on top of degrading the United Nations as a mere paper tiger?
Who in the first place has been destabilizing the region?

China. All other claimants are cool with each other. Only when China comes in the picture.
January 31, 2013    michaeltaiwan @
"What is there to gain by infuriating China "- you coward!
January 31, 2013    sayatimothy@
norodin.lucman@ wrote:
By bringing the case to the UN cold files, the Spratly issue becomes moot and academic. What is there to gain by infuriating China and create instability in the volatile region on top of degrading the United Nations as a mere paper tiger?
The Philippines hasn't infuriated China, China has infuriated the Philippines. In this matter China only views it through the lens of its own self-interest and agenda - which is itself bad diplomacy.
January 31, 2013    sayatimothy@
China joined the WTO, China wants to be acknowledged and respected as an international player in all areas. However, China has a double standard. It has rules that it wants others to follow but doesn't want to follow or adhere to international codes and standards. One area is Beijing's control of the Yuan. While all other major currencies are not controlled the central government, the Yuan is. The other areas is the so-called 9-dashed South China Sea line. It violates all precedents of international compliance, as well as international law and norms.
Imagine if another country drew a line in the sea, right up to Hanan province, and claimed it as its own. What would China do?
January 31, 2013    bdiazarte@
WOW!! PERFECT CHOICE OF LEGAL TEAM, GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES.
January 31, 2013    erwindosorio@
rodwatson@ wrote:
There's milions of squatters in the Philippines who steal land every day, and the PH government protects them with the Lina Law. I know many land owners who bought completely empty land years ago and whose land was stolen by squatters. The land owners paid all their taxes but the corrupt mayors, police, judges and other government officials just help the squatters and EXTORT millions of pesos from legit land owners. Some of these land owners are dead already and they never got their land back. THE PHILIPPINES IS A HOUSE OF THIEVES. THEY DON'T RESPECT LAND TITLES AND MAPS. NO ONE SHOULD EXPECT FILIPINOS TO BE HONEST AND NOBODY SHOULD INVEST THERE OR GO THERE.
mmkay. Now drink your medicine, dude. Told you to keep it cool.
February 1, 2013    rhoodoodoo@
Pinoy are just daydreaming. Their rulers will just waste their tax money in order to fatten American lawyers. Not surprising at all. Here, another example of Pinoy clever behavior: Slums in Manila? Just erect a wall to hide them before the Asian Development Bank meeting start and foreign officials attending the conference arrive!
February 2, 2013    hedgehog00@
norodin.lucman@ wrote:
By bringing the case to the UN cold files, the Spratly issue becomes moot and academic. What is there to gain by infuriating China and create instability in the volatile region on top of degrading the United Nations as a mere paper tiger?
Your comments have to be the most sensible & logical comments in relation to this article. Sadly not everyone think like us.
February 6, 2013    I.Hate.China.but.Love.Taiwan@
...
Americans do not get it!

If North Korea (an ally of China) is testing Missiles with Nukes it is because they want to target the American soil, they want to get even with you!

So why does my beloved China want the South and East China Seas? Because of Taiwan which our Politburo Leaders feared of someday will become a sovereign country with the help of its loyal ally - the U.S.!

The South and East China Seas are Strategically important for our Navy's maneuverings. If we control those areas it will become harder for U.S. to shield our long-lost island Taiwan for possible take over!

Aside from the potential wealth in the South and East China Seas the control of those waters are important to thwart the US Navy's Warships from launching a counter attack once a force take over of Taiwan materialized!

If North Korea hates the U.S., China also hates U.S. but silently! Our Warmonger Leaders and Generals are CLEVER enough not to show it till the right moment comes!

醒醒吧!
Write a Comment
CAPTCHA Code Image
Type in image code
Change the code
 Receive China Post promos
 Respond to this email
Subscribe  |   Advertise  |   RSS Feed  |   About Us  |   Career  |   Contact Us
Sitemap  |   Top Stories  |   Taiwan  |   China  |   Business  |   Asia  |   World  |   Sports  |   Life  |   Arts & Leisure  |   Health  |   Editorial  |   Commentary
Travel  |   Movies  |   TV Listings  |   Classifieds  |   Bookstore  |   Getting Around  |   Weather  |   Guide Post  |   Student Post  |   English Courses  |   Terms of Use  |   Sitemap
  chinapost search