South China Sea: Philippines and China To Meet Again This Year — The Elephant in the Room? China’s Claim to Sea Ownership Is Not Valid

 / 07:25 AM July 12, 2017

Malacañang said on Tuesday that Manila and Beijing have agreed to discuss “mutually acceptable approaches” to deal with their overlapping claims in the South China Sea, as the Philippines marks the first anniversary of its legal victory over China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippines-China Bilateral Consultation Mechanism would meet again in the second half of the year to find ways to enhance “trust and confidence” on issues related to the territorial dispute.

China claim invalid

On July 12 last year, the Hague tribunal ruled that China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea had no legal basis and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea—waters within Manila’s 372-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

“The Philippines and China have reviewed their experience on the West Philippine Sea issue, exchanged views on the current issues of concern to either side, and they have agreed that they will further discuss mutually acceptable approaches to deal with them,” Abella said.

He said Filipino and Chinese officials could discuss the plight of Filipino fishermen who were still having a hard time going to their traditional fishing grounds after these were seized by the Chinese.

“The second meeting coming up within the bilateral … I’m sure items like that will be considered. However, it’s excellent that we are now in dialogue with the other country,” Abella said.

Improving relations

Since coming to power last year, President Duterte has tried to steer the Philippines closer to China, improving diplomatic, trade and tourism ties between the two countries.

In an Asean security forum in Makati last month, Assistant Foreign Secretary Hellen de la Vega said the Philippines had not abandoned the tribunal’s ruling.

“The arbitral award stays. (President Duterte) already said this. The Philippine government has not abandoned it. What he’s trying to say is he would raise it at an appropriate time. So, that appropriate time would have to be defined by him, being the chief architect of policy,” she said.

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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.

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One Response to “South China Sea: Philippines and China To Meet Again This Year — The Elephant in the Room? China’s Claim to Sea Ownership Is Not Valid”

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

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