Posts Tagged ‘arbitration case against China’

Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. photo
MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

South China Sea Nations Await Permanent Court of Arbitration

December 28, 2014


By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) |

MANILA, Philippines – A ruling on the Philippines’ case against Chinese claims in the South China Sea could be the most significant move by any tribunal established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague

However, a finding of no jurisdiction by the judges over the case will dim hopes of using arbitration as a peaceful means of resolution in the future.

Officials at the US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague would likely rule on the Philippine case against Chinese claims by the end of 2015 or 2016.

This is expected to shape Southeast Asia as other countries which have claims in waters in the South China Sea are watching the case, Murray Hiebert, a senior fellow and deputy director of the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the CSIS in Washington, and Gregory Poling, a fellow with the Sumitro Chair, said.

“Decision could be the most significant by any tribunal established under the UNCLOS,” Hiebert and Poling pointed out.

CSIS Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies is a forum for high-level policy dialogue focusing on the region and US interests.

The Philippines initiated an arbitration case against China to challenge its so-called “nine-dash line” position, an expansive claim of “indisputable sovereignty” over almost the entire South China Sea.

“If the judges find that they do not have jurisdiction, it will dim hopes of using arbitration as a peaceful means of resolution in the future,” Hiebert and Poling said in their commentary.

“But if the judges do find jurisdiction, they will almost certainly rule China’s nine-dash line an invalid claim to maritime space.”

China has rejected arbitration and indicated that Beijing is not participating in the arbitration process.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration set Dec. 15 for Beijing to submit its counter-memorial response to Manila’s written arguments.

But China ignored the deadline and argued the arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the case.

In that case, Beijing, which maintains that it will not take part in the proceedings and will not submit its arguments, “will face some difficult choices,” Hiebert and Poling said.

Philippine President Aquino To Discuss South China Sea Arbitration Case Against China With Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe

June 20, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III will be taking up the country’s arbitration case against China with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit to Tokyo next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Friday.


“It is very important for the President to brief the Japanese side on the arbitration case that we filed against China. I’m sure the President will be updating the Prime Minister on the status of our case,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said during a briefing at the Palace.
The Philippines and China are both claimants to parts of the South China Sea, which the Asian giant claims in its entirety.  Recently, Aquino revealed that more Chinese ships were found in Manila-claimed territories.
The Philippines has elevated its claim to a United Nations tribunal, which gave China until December 15 to respond to the country’s pleading.
Japan and China, on the other hand, both claim a string of Japanese-administered islets in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Beijing declared an air defense zone covering most of the East China Sea last year, sparking protests from Japan and the United States.
Jose said these developments may also be tackled during the President’s one-day working visit to Japan on June 24.
“We can see so much developments  happening in the South China Sea, East China Sea. So I’m sure they will be sharing views and exchanging views on this issue,” he said.
But asked whether the two countries were ganging up on China, the DFA official just cited Japan’s importance as an ally.
“Japan is a very important friend and partner of the Philippines. We have a very vibrant political, economic, and people-to-people exchanges with Japan,” he said.
He also said that Japan is one of the country’s only two strategic partners. Japan is likewise the number one trading partner of the Philippines, the largest source of official development assistance, the third largest source of approved investments, and the third largest source of tourists, he said.
“[So this visit] is another opportunity for the two countries and for the two leaders to further strengthen our cooperation and partnership,” he said.
Earlier, the Palace said the two leaders will discuss possible areas of cooperation during their meeting.
On Friday, Jose said these areas of include humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime cooperation, promotion of trade and investments, people-to-people exchanges, and the Mindanao peace process. — RSJ, GMA News

South China Sea: Philippines On Guard Against China’s Negative Reaction to International Arbitration

March 29, 2014


By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) – Malacanang is prepared for the any actions from China after the government files the Philippine memorial on the arbitration case on the West Philippine Sea before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

This was the Palace’s reaction following reports China will impose sanctions on the Philippines if it files the memorial.

“It would be best to ask China what their intended plans are moving forward. But at least for the Philippine government, we can say that all factors have been taken into consideration when the discussions were being had on the matter of arbitration,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Friday.

The memorial will contain the Philippine position on the matter of the China’s “nine-dash line” claim that covers all of the West Philippine Sea.

Valte said a favorable ruling from the ITLOS will add weight to the Philippine position.

It was her response to a question on how a favorable ruling may help the country when the ITLOS has no powers to enforce its ruling.

“Assuming that a favorable decision is rendered, then that is additional weight for the Philippine position when it comes because that is a tribunal that is empowered really to pass judgment on these things based on international law, which is upheld by most countries that subscribed to it,” she said.

Manila is to file as scheduled its “memorial,” or formal pleading on Sunday, which would allow the UN arbitral tribunal to study the Philippine argument that the Chinese claim covers parts of Philippine territory, officials said.

China claims most of the strategically important body of water as well as islets and reefs which border major sea lanes and are reputed to sit on vast oil and gas reserves.

The Philippines, whose forces are dwarfed by its giant neighbor in an increasingly tense stand-off over some reefs and shoals, sought UN arbitration in January 2012 to settle the dispute, but China has rejected the move.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei warned the Philippines on Wednesday against proceeding with the UN case.

“China will never accept nor participate in the international arbitration unilaterally initiated and pushed by the Philippines, and China’s position has a solid basis in international law,” Hong told a news conference in Beijing.

“We hope that the Philippine side… returns to the right track of resolving the dispute through negotiation and consultation as soon as possible, (and) stops going any further down the wrong track so as to avoid further damage to bilateral relations.”

The Philippine case alleges that Chinese claims to areas of the West Philippine Sea and its seabed cover areas as far as 870 nautical miles (1,611 kilometers) from the nearest Chinese coast, and are thus illegal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Both countries are signatories to the 1982 treaty.

In the latest hostile encounter between the two, Chinese coastguard ships this month blocked two Filipino-flagged vessels headed for Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly group, around 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan.

The Philippines said the vessels were bringing supplies to Filipino marines aboard a decrepit navy ship that it beached on the shoal in 1999.

The Philippine has also accused China of firing water cannon at Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal, another South China Sea outcrop. – with a report from Agence France-Presse

Includes video:

Chinese H6 bomber flies over the East China Sea during China’s dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands with Japan

The presence of China’s navy in the East and South China Sea has expanded greatly as China adds more capability and warships.

Map of South China Sea

China has claimed much of the South China Sea for itself —  claims that have upset many in the region, especially Vietnam and the Philippines. A huge wealth of untapped oil is believed to be below the sea here.

South China Sea Dispute: ‘China to use might, Philippines to use right’

March 26, 2014

MANILA – An expert on maritime affairs on Tuesday said the Philippine government’s position in its arbitration case against China on the disputed West Philippine Sea is encapsulated by the battlecry “right versus might,” which is what Manila is bringing to the international community in seeking support.

According to Dr. Jay Batongbacal of the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, China is hoping for military might to determine who owns the disputed area.

“Their policy is ‘bide our time, build our strength.’ The Philippines, on the other hand, wants to see a better world that is not based on that kind of perception,” Batongbacal told ANC Prime Time.

Batongbacal said Manila thinks it is right time to push for that principle and get the international community to support the country.

Lawyer Harry Roque, meanwhile, told ANC that the use of force will never result in a valid title.

Roque, director of the UP Law Center’s Institute for International Legal Study, said that through the use of force, countries can take possession of other countries.

“But this possession can never ripen into a title because that is an expressed provision of international law — that conquest will never ripen into title,” he said.

Roque also said that this matter is “an emotional issue” for China.

“As far as the arbitration is concerned, they want it to stop because culturally, they’re offended. But regardless of the outcome on the issue of jurisdiction, China will maintain that it has title over the nine-dash lines,” Roque said.

Asked about Manila’s chances in arbitration, Batongbcal believes that the Philippines has a 50/50 chance.

“On the issue of jurisdiction, it could still go either way if you really look at specific cases,” he said. “With respect to the merits, the tribunal has a tendency to try to find some kind of middle ground, and there are a few cases where you could clearly say one side has completely won and the other side has completely lost.”

But Roque seems to think otherwise, saying there is even a 75-25 chance in favor of the Philippines.

“I think it is clear that on the issue of jurisdiction, the tribunal is satisfied it has jurisdiction if the controversy has to do with application and interpretation of specific provisions of UNCLOS, so I am more hopeful,” he said.

He said if the country succeeds in the issue of jurisdiction and if the rules of UNCLOS are applied, the Philippines has a better than 50 percent chance of prevailing.

He is worried, however, on policy considerations.

“On the basis of rules, we have it, we can even say 75-25. But the problem is tribunals don’t always decide on the basis of rules. Sometimes they decide on the basis of policy and the policy is, which will strengthen the binding nature of UNCLOS,” he said.

The Philippines is set to file its memorial with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on March 30, on its case against Beijing over the disputed West Philippine Sea.

China has rejected participating in the arbitration.


Above: China says it has sovereignty over all inside the “Nine Dash Line” as seen here.

Map of South China Sea

China has claimed much of the South China Sea for itself —  claims that have upset many in the region, especially Vietnam and the Philippines. A huge wealth of untapped oil is believed to be below the sea here.

China’s largest patrol vessel in the South China Sea, the “Haixun 31″

The chart below shows the area declared by China on 1 January 2014 as “an area under China’s jurisdiction.” China says “foreign fishing vessels” can only enter and work in this area with prior approval from China. Vietnam, the Philippines and others have said they will not comply with China’s law.