The Philippines tells
China: Arbitration a peaceful, enduring solution to sea row
By Michaela del
MANILA, Nov. 11 (PNA) -- The Philippines on Wednesday said it is
determined to see through the conclusion of its arbitration case that seeks
to invalidate China’s huge sea claim amid Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s
accusation that Manila’s legal challenge has strained ties between the two
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose maintained that arbitration, "a
universally-recognized dispute settlement mechanism," is “a peaceful and
enduring solution” to the overlapping claims in the South China Sea -- a
resource-rich body of water also being claimed in parts or in whole by
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
“We are determined to pursue the arbitration case to its logical
conclusion,” Jose said in a statement.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, which has
jurisdiction over Manila’s case, will begin its hearing on the merits of the
Philippine complaint on Nov. 24 and will conclude it on Nov. 30.
In its case, Manila seeks to declare as illegal China’s so-called nine-dash
line claim -- a U-shaped enclosure that puts almost the entire South China
Sea, including parts of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, under its
Jose maintained China's nine-dash line claim is “expansive, excessive and
has no basis under international law,” including the 1982 United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea, which allows coastal states to explore,
exploit and manage areas within its 200-nautical mile EEZ.
“If left unchallenged, we could lose about 80 percent of our exclusive
economic zone,” Jose warned.
Speaking to Manila-based Chinese journalist, Wang, hours after his bilateral
meeting with counterpart Albert del Rosario and a courtesy call to President
Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacanang on Tuesday, called on the Philippines to
solve its diplomatic rift with China.
“We hope that the Philippines can make a more sensible choice," he said.
Tensions flared after China beefed up its reclamation activities in disputed
areas and transformed seven previously submerged features into artificial
islands with buildings several stories high with at least two runways.
Several countries, including the US and Japan, have raised concerns on
China’s rapid island-building.
“China's unilateral, aggressive and provocative actions to assert her claims
in South China Sea affect our ability to exercise our sovereign rights and
jurisdiction over our maritime entitlements,” Jose said. “To address these,
we have resorted to arbitration.” (PNA)