The Philippines says it will continue to pursue international arbitration in its territorial dispute in the South China Sea with China, despite Beijing’s rejection.
Philippines to Forge Ahead with Sea Dispute Arbitration
MANILA — The Philippines says it will continue to pursue international arbitration in its territorial dispute in the South China Sea with China, despite Beijing’s rejection. Philippine authorities say they do not need China’s consent to take the issue to the United Nations.
Officials with the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs say the 1982 U.N. treaty that both countries signed allows Manila to go into arbitration alone. DFA Ocean Concerns Assistant Secretary Gilberto Asuque says international arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is compulsory.
“The process has started. It cannot be disrupted. The actions of China cannot interfere with the completion of the process because there is nothing in UNCLOS that says you can disrupt or interfere with the process,” said Asuque.
The Philippine arbitration filing says China violates the UNCLOS-designation of a country’s exclusive economic zone, which is 370 kilometers from its coastline. It also calls China’s centuries-old claim to practically the entire South China Sea illegal.
On Tuesday, China’s ambassador to Manila sent the notice of the arbitration back to the Philippines. Then at a news briefing, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said the filing was “factually flawed.” He also says it goes against the non-binding agreement between the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China to settle sea-related disputes among themselves.
Source: Voice of America.