Posts Tagged ‘Permanent Court of Arbitration’

Philippines denies inaction on South China Sea

July 17, 2018
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‘We file protests but we do it quietly’

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday said it has been asserting the Philippines’ claims in the South China Sea after a nationwide poll suggested that four out of five Filipinos reject the government’s perceived inaction on the issue.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly declared that he would not give up the country’s territory.

“The government of President Duterte is not guilty of inaction,” Roque told radio station dzRH.

(philstar.com) – July 16, 2018 – 4:04pm

“Whenever China does something that violates our sovereignty, we file protests but we do it quietly,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has said in the past the the Philippines has filed “50-100” protests with China, a claim that administration critics like Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon doubt.

Roque stressed that the president would not quarrel with China over the dispute because it would not benefit ties between Manila and Beijing.

“He (Duterte) believes we can set aside temporarily the things that cannot be resolved immediately. We can pursue those that can be pursued like the economy,” he added.

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted from June 27 to 30 found 81 percent of Filipinos believing that the government should not “leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence” in Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.

RELATED: Philippines now ‘willing victim’ in South China Sea dispute, Del Rosario laments

Eight out of ten Filipinos believe it is right for the government to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines, SWS said.

About seven out of ten or 74 percent of respondents think it is right for the government to bring the issue to international organizations while 73 percent back “direct, bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and China.”

Meanwhile, 68 percent of Filipinos believe the government should ask other countries to mediate the issue.

Roque said all Filipinos, not just 81 percent of them, should oppose inaction on the maritime dispute.

“It should be 100 percent because there is no government inaction…Five out of five Filipinos should protest inaction because it is not true that President Duterte is not doing anything,” the presidential spokesman said.

RELATED: Chinese took Filipino fishers’ catch as ‘barter exchange,’ Duterte explains

“We are just not making noise but we have an immediate action if we think China is violating our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he added.

Roque said Duterte, who has been accused of being too soft on China, is continuously fighting for the interests of the Philippines.

Critics have accused Duterte of abandoning the Philippines’ maritime claims in the South China Sea in exchange for military and economic assistance from China

Duterte has denied this and has given assurance that he would discuss the South China Sea row with Chinese officials within his term. The president has also admitted that the Philippines would be courting “trouble” if it insists on its maritime claims, a claim that critics say paint war as the country’s only option.  — Alexis Romero

RELATED: With mere words, Duterte can lose to China rights Philippines won in arbitral ruling

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/16/1834062/palace-denies-inaction-south-china-sea-dispute#2CCOZpD5GcvGEb6W.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.

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Philippines can Still Recover Sovereignty, Dignity, Resources in the South China Sea

July 16, 2018
Commentary: Time to recover from failure to use the South China Sea ruling as leverage
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By Dindo Manhit (philstar.com) – July 16, 2018 – 3:26pm

During the second anniversary of our nation’s victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, the Stratbase ADR Institute gathered international experts, key stakeholders from the academe, government, and the private sector to discuss the consequences of the policy of appeasement that the administration had taken, in addition to the threats against and opportunities within the international rules-based order.

Brahma Chellaney, professor of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, said that “compliance with or defiance of international rules has no correlation to state size.” He noted that China’s defiance has heightened international concerns about the security of maritime domain.

The Philippine victory at the Arbitral Tribunal is concrete proof that small nations like the Philippines can make our voices heard in a rules-based regime.

He said that as far as China was concerned international law matters only when it serves their interest.

The current administration has failed to use the landmark ruling that invalidated China’s “historic claims” on the South China Sea as a leverage to claim what is ours and fully explore and use the abundant resources in the West Philippine Sea.

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Instead, amid friendlier relations, China continued its military build-up in the South China Sea. They continue to destroy our marine resources, dictate the rules of the sea and bully our poor fishermen who are just making a livelihood in the Scarborough Shoal.

Dr. Go Ito of Meiji University asserted that the Philippines can better enforce the award by engaging like-minded partners like the United States and Japan to support the 2016 decision. He also noted that issues related to environmental protection in the South China Sea and maritime areas can also be raised to counter China.

What Filipinos want

In its effort to appease China and generate much-needed capital to finance its ambitious infrastructure program, the Duterte administration has adopted “silent diplomacy,” which prevents it from protesting the belligerent behavior of China in the South China Sea.

This is against the wishes of the majority of Filipinos, who clamor for a different approach. They want the Duterte administration to protect its territorial integrity and defend its claims in the West Philippine Sea. The results of a recent Pulse Asia survey showed that 73 percent of Filipinos want the current administration to assert our rights and protect our territorial sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

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On the other hand, 36 percent of the Filipinos want our government to file a diplomatic protest against China amidst the reports of its continued militarization of the South China Sea. In addition, 22 percent believed that there is a need to strengthen military alliance with other countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia.The national survey by the Social Weather Stations likewise confirms these findings with four out five Filipinos or 81 percent saying that it is not right to do nothing about China’s intrusion in claimed territories.

The Filipinos are now taking their stand to protect our territorial integrity. Moreover, they want our government to do what it should do—use diplomatic protests as an expression of our dissatisfaction on various cases.

While the president reiterates that we need China to boost trade, tourism and infrastructural development, a small percentage of Filipinos believe that friendlier relations will promote stability in the South China Sea.

The surveys affirm a strong patriotism among Filipinos, that they want to protest against all unlawful and coercive practices of other states.

The Philippines is for the Filipinos to enjoy, benefit and explore. We should never allow others states to enhance its political and economic power at our expense.

We must protest what is unlawful, coercive and contrary to the correct principles that govern relations between states. Our people deserves a government that is willing to fight for their citizens’ future and not a government that is helpless and weak.

We must defend what is ours now before it is too late.

 

Dindo Manhit is the president of think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute, a partner of Philstar.com.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/other-sections/news-feature/2018/07/16/1834059/commentary-time-recover-failure-use-south-china-sea-ruling-leverage#fmykvjsFbBJoxEQH.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.

73% of Filipinos want gov’t to assert South China Sea rights

July 13, 2018
To the question, “How much do you agree or disagree with the statement? The Duterte administration should assert our right and protect our territorial sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea as stipulated in the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration,” most of the 1,800 respondents agreed.

Edd Gumban
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) – July 13, 2018 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Seventy-three percent of Filipinos want the Duterte administration to assert the country’s rights in the South China Sea, according to Pulse Asia’s latest sruvey.

To the question, “How much do you agree or disagree with the statement? The Duterte administration should assert our right and protect our territorial sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea as stipulated in the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration,” most of the 1,800 respondents agreed.

Of the number, 46 percent said they “strongly agree,” while 27 percent “somewhat agree.”

Seventeen percent of the respondents said they may either agree or disagree with the question raised in the survey.

Only four percent “somewhat disagree” and three-percent “strongly disagree” or opposed the matter.

Two percent admitted they had limited knowledge about the topic, while 0.4 percent have no idea about it.

Pulse Asia released the results of the survey, conducted last June 15 to 25, on the second anniversary of the Philippines’ winning its case before the arbitral tribunal in The Hague.

On the other hand, two of 10 Pinoys “want Duterte gov’t to continue befriending China” despite disputes in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea, the survey revealed.

Of the respondents, 21 percent said the government must “continue the current action of befriending China to avoid conflict between the Philippines and China” when asked what should be the Duterte administration’s position on China’s continued militarization of territories in the West Philippine Sea, Pulse Asia noted.

On the other hand, 36 percent of the respondents believed that the Duterte administration should “file a diplomatic protest with the Chinese embassy in the Philippines and stress the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration last 2016 that the islands in the West Philippine Sea are Philippine territory,” the survey showed.

Meanwhile, 22 percent of the respondents said the government must “strengthen military alliance of the Philippines with other countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia,” while 16 percent agreed that it must “strengthen the Philippines’ military capability to protect our territories.”

Some 0.3 percent said the government must declare war on China, while four percent said they have limited idea about the topic and 0.01 percent had other things to say which the survey findings did not disclose.

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South China Sea: Time for a different Philippine narrative on maritime dispute with China

July 7, 2018

Since the stunning victory over China in 2016, the official story has been defeatist

Soon, it will be two years since the Philippines overwhelmingly won in its maritime dispute against China. But during this time, the official narrative in the Philippines has been one with strong defeatist tones.

By Marites Dañguilan Vitug

Opinion

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From Day 1, July 12, 2016, when the international arbitral tribunal issued its decision invalidating China’s 9-dash line and clarifying the status of certain features in the South China Sea, this ruling has never been given the national attention it deserved. It has not been used as leverage in the country’s dealings with China. It has not been in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ talking points.

It has not been part of the country’s diplomatic arsenal.

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Yes, we won, officials say, but…

  • China is our source of economic deliverance. China will rebuild war-torn Marawi. China will invest heavily in the government’s “Build, Build, Build”
    program. Millions of Chinese tourists will boost our tourism industry. China is our new source of weapons.
  • China is a dear friend who, unlike the European Union, is nonchalant about the deadly drug war that has killed thousands and has led to a crushing wave of impunity.

These buts drown out the gains of July 12, 2016, weakening the Philippine position, making our country’s voice part of the chorus of approval of China in the region.

Let us not be taken by the official story. It’s time to talk about a different narrative.

Let’s go back to the story of Philippines vs. China, the historic arbitration case that reverberated in various parts of the world. As a law professor from the University of Geneva said, “July 12, 2016 is a date that will remain etched in the history of international adjudication.”

Let’s go back to the almost two decades of back-and-forth with Beijing when our diplomats asserted Philippine rights over parts of the South China Sea – only to be rebuffed with its stock response that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over this vast area.

Let’s hear from our scholars, experts, and diplomats on how to make use of our legal victory and start a national conversation on this crucial issue.

Historic case

In my new book, Rock Solid: How the Philippines won its maritime case against China, I tell the story of this victory that gave the country so much – a maritime area larger than the total land area of the Philippines, rich in resources – but has since been disregarded by the government.

First of all, the case is historic. It is the first to interpret the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) definitions of rocks, islands, and low-tide elevations; the first case to be filed by a South China Sea claimant state against China; and it is the first case to address the scope and application of the Unclos provision on protection and preservation of the environment.

This book addresses why President Benigno Aquino III took China to Court. Among others, he particularly remembered the quip of one ASEAN senior leader: “There are big countries and there are small countries. That’s the way of the world.” He mulled over this and thought that it was precisely the law that would serve as the great equalizer.

With this as anchor – the law as the great equalizer – Aquino decided, with the approval of the Cabinet, the leaders of Congress and two past presidents, to sue China.

In January 2013, the Philippines began its legal battle. It filed a “notification of statement and claim.”

More than year later, the Philippines submitted its memorial, like a plea, which reached more than 3,000 pages. It was a product of massive research in history, international law, geology, hydrography, marine biodiversity, and cartography. This included 10 volumes of annexes, which contained maps, nautical charts, expert reports, witnesses’ affidavits, historical records, and official communications.

Almost two decades of written exchanges between the Philippines and China, including notes verbale, were made public. Intelligence reports of the Navy, the Western Command of the Armed Forces, and the Department of National Defense were also submitted to the tribunal.

This was a first in the country: that diplomatic cables and intelligence documents were revealed to the public, a fascinating trove of our diplomatic history.

The Philippine story also unfolds in the transcripts of the oral hearings in The Hague which capture the essential points of the case. Paul Reichler and his team at Foley Hoag used the richly-documented diplomatic history of the Philippines-China dispute in their arguments before the tribunal.

These transcripts, the Philippine memorial, the awards (or the tribunal’s decisions) on jurisdiction and merit are accessible reading to non-lawyers like me. They can be downloaded from the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

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Aftermath

Despite the stunning victory, why was the Philippines so glum about a historic ruling that was on its side? Why did it choose to bury a euphoric moment instead of using the victory to galvanize a nation?

The answer lay in the country’s new president, Rodrigo Duterte. He held a different view: his heart and mind were with China.

The Duterte government has taken a defeatist stance despite the immensity of what the Philippines had gained from the ruling. Duterte once said that the Philippines was “helpless” in the face of China’s might. For him, the choices in dealing with China were extreme, either to talk or to go to war. He has framed foreign policy in a false dichotomy.

While the story of Philippines vs. China offers hope and inspiration, it is the aftermath that offers more challenges. Rock Solid gives a few prescriptions on how to make the tribunal’s decision work, but there are definitely more ideas out there worth exploring.

Many have said that international pressure can encourage the implementation of the award – but friendly countries have to take the lead from the Philippines.

In the region, the award benefited not only the Philippines but other Southeast Asian states which have made claims to parts of the South China Sea. It was clear from the ruling, as Reichler explained, that “if China’s nine-dash line is invalid as to the Philippines, it is equally invalid to other states bordering the South China Sea like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and the rest of the international community.”

Making the tribunal ruling work and seeing it come to fruition, partly or fully, will take a long time, way beyond a single president’s term. It will require strategic thinking anchored on a strong sense of justice, equity, and sovereign rights. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/206508-time-for-different-narrative-philippines-china-maritime-dispute

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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South China Sea: Divisive Ideas Harming the Philippines, Acting Chief Justice Says — Will Filipinos Stand Up?

June 24, 2018

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio delivered this speech to the graduates of the National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines, on June 22, 2018.

Allow me to warmly congratulate the 2018 graduates of the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines. I have high hopes that you will contribute greatly to the advancement of public governance in our country, especially in ensuring the development of our nation as a united and undivided sovereign state with its territorial integrity and maritime zones intact.

Our nation today is facing radical proposals to change its historic identity, its grant of regional autonomy, and its foreign policy. Because these proposals are radical and divisive, they require the deepest examination from all sectors of our society – from lawyers, public administrators, historians, political experts, businessmen, scientists, farmers, NGOs, and all other sectors in our society. I call these proposals “Ideas that Divide the Nation.

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Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio

We should be wary of new concepts imported from foreign shores and alien to our history as a people, which could divide the nation and even lead to the dismemberment of the Philippine state. Let me point out a few examples of these divisive ideas that have been introduced into our national discourse.

First divisive idea: First Nation

The first Idea that Divides the Nation is the attempt to introduce the concept of a First Nation into our legal system. The Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, initialed by the Arroyo administration with the MILF in 2008, and which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional, contained a provision designating the Muslims as the First Nation in the Philippines.

In Canada and the United States, the First Nations were the native inhabitants of North America at the time of the arrival of the European settlers starting in the 16th century. The European settlers or Caucasian white people later became the majority and dominated the earlier people – the Indians – thus creating two distinct classes of people inhabiting the same territory. The native inhabitants or the Indians have a different DNA and facial features from the Caucasian white people. The Indians and the Caucasian white people belong to different races. Clearly, there are real First Nations in Canada and the United States. These First Nations are thus accorded their own territory or ancestral domains. The First Nations receive royalties for the exploitation of natural resources in their ancestral domains.

“Any attempt to designate a group of people in the Philippines as the First Nation is historically baseless and a fraud on the rest of the Filipino nation.”

In the Philippines, there is no First Nation. If you take the DNA of people in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, whether Lumads, Christians, or Muslims, you will find they all belong to the same Malay race, except probably the Aetas. Practically all the people of the Philippines belong to one race. They are all native inhabitants of the Philippines. There is no foreign race that settled in the Philippines and dominated the native inhabitants.

The native inhabitants of the Philippines were originally all Lumads. When Arab traders arrived in Sulu in the late 15th century, they introduced Islam and some Lumads became Muslims. In the early 16th century, Magellan arrived in the Philippines and some Lumads became Christians. However, the Lumads, Muslims, and Christians in the Philippines belonged to the same race – the Malay race – as they, of course, still do today. Thus, there is no First Nation in the Philippines.

Three thousand years ago, the first wave of Austronesian migrants, the ancestors of the Malay race, arrived in Batanes from Taiwan. Over the next 2,500 years, the Austronesian migrants spread over to Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, Borneo, Indonesia, peninsular Malaysia, central Vietnam, Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia, reaching as far as Madagascar off the southeast coast of Africa and Easter Island off the western coast of Chile in South America. It was the widest migration of people by sea in the history of mankind.

Before the sea-faring Austronesians arrived in the Philippines 3,000 years ago, the Philippines was inhabited by Aetas, who came to the Philippines in an earlier wave of migrations from the Asian mainland, possibly through land bridges. The ancient migrations of peoples were driven by climate change and other natural calamities, not by conquest to subjugate a native population. These ancient migrations were not state sponsored as was the colonization and plunder by the Old-World nations of the Americas, Africa, Oceana and Asia starting in the Age of Discovery in the 15th century. We do not consider as the First Nation those who migrated to the Philippines more than 3,000 years ago because of natural phenomena.

Historically, there is no First Nation in the Philippines. Any attempt to designate a group of people in the Philippines as the First Nation is historically baseless and a fraud on the rest of the Filipino nation. Such designation is divisive and will only create conflict within the same Filipino race.

Second divisive idea: Indigenous people

The second Idea that Divides the Nation is the legal concept of indigenous people under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 or the IPRA Law. Under the IPRA Law, Filipinos who are Christians, and those who have adopted Western customs and practices, constituting the vast majority of Filipinos, are not indigenous people of the Philippines. As a legal, social, and historical concept, indigenous people are the First People or the Native People, inhabiting a territory from the beginning, in contrast to those who settled in, occupied or colonized the territory later. If the Christian Filipinos like me, and almost all of you here, are not indigenous to the Philippines, where did we come – from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, America, or Mars?

“The IPRA Law discriminates against the majority of native Filipinos on the basis of religion, language, customs, and traditions. The worst injustice is that the majority of native Filipinos like you and me are no longer considered indigenous people of the Philippines.”
We are definitely not Europeans, Middle Eastern, Africans, or native Americans. We certainly are not Martians. We are, of course, beyond any shadow of doubt, indigenous to the Philippines. We have the same DNA, belonging to the same Malay race, as the non-Christian Lumads who are called indigenous people under the IPRA Law. The ancestors of Christians Filipinos were Lumads too before they converted to Christianity. Should their descendants now be designated by law non-indigenous to the Philippines just because their ancestors exercised their religious freedom upon the arrival of the Spaniards almost 500 years ago?

The fact that some native inhabitants of the Philippines embraced Christianity, Islam, or any other non-indigenous religion and adopted Western or Middle Eastern customs and practices did not, for sure, make them non-indigenous to the Philippines. But the IPRA Law disqualifies them from being called indigenous people. Under the IPRA Law, Filipino Muslims are also not indigenous people.

The IPRA Law discriminates against the majority of native Filipinos on the basis of religion, language, customs, and traditions. The worst injustice is that the majority of native Filipinos like you and me are no longer considered indigenous people of the Philippines. Under the IPRA Law, we are non-indigenous, meaning, we are alien settlers, occupiers, or colonizers in our own country. This is historically false, divisive, and should never form part of our legal system.

Third divisive idea: Right to self-determination

The 3rd Idea that Divides the Nation is the proposition, found in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL now pending before Congress, that the BBL represents the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people to their right to self-determination. The right to self-determination, a recognized principle in international law, has two meanings, depending on the socio-political environment where it is used. First, the right to self-determination can mean the right of an ethnic minority to self-governance within a single indivisible state. This meaning is consistent with our Constitution. Second, the right to self-determination can also mean the right to secession or independence from a state. This meaning is anathema to the Constitution and must not be allowed to be grafted into our legal system.

There is an absolute need to clarify that the right to self-determination proposed to be embodied in the BBL is the right to self-governance within a single Philippine state. There should be no ambiguity whatsoever about this. If there is no clarification, or if there is even a shadow of doubt, then the right to self-determination can be interpreted in the light of the long history of secessionist movements among the Muslim communities in Southern Philippines. That would mean that the right to self-determination is the right to secede. This will result in the dismemberment of the Republic, a prospect too horrendous to contemplate.

I once asked a Spanish judge why the Catalonia autonomous region in Spain held a referendum on whether or not Catalonia should secede from Spain. The Spanish judge replied that the Spanish Constitution is silent on whether the autonomous regions can secede or not. The central government in Madrid interprets the silence as prohibition to secede, while Catalonia interprets the silence as non-prohibition to secede. The Spanish judge then gave a very sound advice: be sure that in your law granting autonomy to any region, there is a clear and categorical prohibition to secede, including a clear and categorical prohibition to hold any referendum on secession. Thus, we cannot incorporate into our legal system, through silence, negligence, or ignorance, the utterly divisive idea of the right to secede in the BBL.

Fourth divisive idea: Enforcing the arbitral ruling means war

The 4th, and my last example of an Idea that Divides the Nation, is the Duterte administration’s foreign policy in the West Philippine Sea which can be summarized in this way: if we seek to enforce the arbitral ruling, China will go to war against the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte has announced that he was “setting aside” the arbitral ruling by an UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared without legal effect China’s notorious nine-dashed line in the South China Sea. The arbitral tribunal held that the Philippines has a full 200 NM Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea, a maritime area larger than the total land area of the Philippines. By any yardstick, the landmark ruling was an overwhelming victory for the Philippines and the Filipino people.

However, President Rodrigo Duterte has opted not to enforce the ruling in order to secure loans and investments from China, even as China continues to relentlessly encroach on Philippine territory and maritime zones in the West Philippine Sea. We all know that the fish, oil, gas, and other mineral resources in our Exclusive Economic Zone in the West Philippine Sea are worth far more than whatever loans and investments that can come from China. Besides, the country’s national territory and maritime zones, involving sovereignty and sovereign rights, are beyond any monetary value.

The President has warned the Filipino people that China will go to war, resulting in a massacre of Filipino soldiers, if the Philippines insists on enforcing the arbitral ruling, as if war is the only means of enforcing the ruling. The President has declared that there are only two options for the Philippines: either we talk to China or go to war with China. There are, of course, other options. There are many peaceful means of enforcing the ruling. Let me mention some of these peaceful means of enforcing the ruling.

“[S]eeking arbitration is never a hostile act. The UN Charter expressly recognizes arbitration as a peaceful means of settling disputes between states.”
First, since the ruling recognized our full Exclusive Economic Zone in the West Philippine Sea, we can file an extended continental shelf claim beyond our Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Luzon. This is similar to our extended continental shelf claim in Benham Rise in the Philippine Sea. The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which approves applications for an extended continental shelf, will of course recognize the arbitral ruling issued by a tribunal created under UNCLOS, the same Convention that created the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. In filing our extended continental shelf claim off the coast of Luzon, China will not even be a respondent or defendant.

Second, we can enter into a sea boundary agreement with Vietnam over our overlapping extended continental shelves beyond the Spratlys. Vietnam has already proposed that we sign such a sea boundary agreement. Likewise, we can enter into a sea boundary agreement with Malaysia over our overlapping EEZs between Borneo and Palawan. We can enter into these sea boundary agreements because the arbitral tribunal ruled that there is no geologic feature in the Spratlys that can generate an exclusive economic zone. These sea boundary agreements apply the arbitral ruling by state practice, thus reinforcing the ruling. In these sea boundary agreements, China will not even be a party.

Third, we can send our survey ships to Reed Bank, and if they are turned back by Chinese coast guard vessels, we can bring the matter in a new arbitration case under UNCLOS. We can demand damages from China for preventing us from exploiting the Reed Bank which has been declared in the arbitral ruling as part of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines.

Fourth, we can file another arbitration case against China for preventing our fishermen from fishing within the lagoon of Scarborough Shoal, in violation of the arbitral ruling that Filipino, Chinese, and Vietnamese fishermen can fish in the territorial waters of Scarborough Shoal. We can include in this new arbitration the continuing destruction by Chinese fishermen of the coral reef system in Scarborough Shoal. We can ask the arbitral tribunal to award damages to our fishermen for the economic losses they have suffered due to the Chinese actions.

Again, these are just some of the peaceful and legal means of enforcing the arbitral ruling. In particular, seeking arbitration is never a hostile act. The UN Charter expressly recognizes arbitration as a peaceful means of settling disputes between states.

Not a single, right-thinking Filipino asserting our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea has called for war against China. It is utterly false to claim that war with China is the necessary consequence of asserting our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. War as a means of enforcing the arbitral ruling is simply a preposterous idea.

Our Constitution prohibits resort to war to enforce the arbitral ruling. The Constitution expressly mandates that the Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy. The UN Charter has expressly outlawed war as a means of settling disputes between states. If we declare war against China to enforce the arbitral ruling, we will surely be condemned by all members of the United Nations and even severely sanctioned by the UN Security Council for violating international law and the UN Charter. If the Philippines goes to war, the obvious outcome will be the Philippines fighting not only China, but also the rest of the world. The Philippines will be a pariah in the community of civilized nations.

Under our Constitution, Congress has the sole power to declare war by two-thirds vote of the House and Senate voting separately. I have not heard a single congressman or senator calling for war against China to enforce the arbitral ruling. Besides, we all know that if we go to war against China, we will surely lose and lose badly. Obviously, only a fool will resort to war against China to enforce the arbitral ruling.

War is not an option and has never been an option. That is why when China seized Scarborough Shoal in 2012, we did not send the Philippine marines to retake the shoal. We sent our lawyers to The Hague to invalidate China’s nine-dashed line claim under international law. And we won an overwhelming victory. Therefore, we should continue resorting to international law to enforce our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. We should never waiver in enforcing the arbitral ruling in accordance with international law.

“The idea that war is the only means of enforcing the arbitral ruling, or that war is a necessary consequence of enforcing the ruling, is nonsensical, impractical, illegal, divisive and even laughable. Unfortunately, the laugh is on the Filipino nation.”

We all know that China is the only state that has seized Philippine territory and maritime zones. China is the only state that is actually a threat to the territorial sovereignty and integrity of the Philippines. That is why our China policy – our response to the Chinese threat in the West Philippine Sea – must not divide the Filipino nation. The nation must be united in defending Philippine territory and maritime zones in the West Philippine Sea against China. When a nation is facing an unjust and unlawful aggression from a foreign state, the leaders of the nation must unite the people in the defense of the state. What our national leaders should never do is to mindlessly divide the nation, like claiming that there will be war if we seek to enforce the arbitral ruling.

My dear graduates, we must all be steadfast in fighting Ideas that Divide the Nation for a divided nation cannot focus on national development, and worse, a divided nation is a weakened nation in defending national territory and maritime zones. We must always be on guard and resist any and all attempts to weaken the nation in defending our national territory and maritime zones. Every Filipino citizen, whether in government or in the private sector, whether holding the highest or lowest position, has a solemn civic duty to preserve, protect, and defend what belongs to the Filipino people. We owe this duty to the present and future generations of Filipinos.

Thank you and once again, congratulations to the graduates. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/205597-antonio-carpio-address-graduates-ncpag-university-of-the-philippines-2018

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Understanding China’s perpetual wars against its neighbours.

https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/%E2%80%8Bunderstanding-chinas-perpetual-wars-against-its-neighbours/

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President Duterte walks with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano during the 120th anniversary of the Departmernt of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City.
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Philippines/China: Senate Minority Leader says time to review ‘policy of appeasement’ toward China

June 14, 2018

The government should review its policy of “appeasement and accommodation” toward China, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, saying that such a stance did not necessarily translate into economic benefits for the country.

Drilon issued the statement amid reports of increasing China’s militarization of the South China Sea conflict and of its coast guard’s taking of Filipino fishermen’s catch on Scarborough Shoal.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Etienne Oliveau/Pool Photo via AP

According to Drilon, President Rodrigo Duterte should reevaluate his policy of appeasement toward China as records showed that it was not resulting in increase in trade and investments and in tourist arrivals in the country.

“I think the government should review the policy of appeasement and accommodation on China,” Drilon said during the Kapihan sa Senado forum.

Drilon cited the case of Vietnam which had been vocal in asserting its rights and condemning China for its aggressiveness in staking its claim to the disputed waters, a region believed to be holding vast reserves of natural resources.

Drilon said that foreign direct investments from China for the year 2017 stood at $31 million, “very minimal” compared to the $600 million from Japan and $160 from the United States.

“Vietnam, in 2017, got from Chinese direct investment was US$2.170 billion contrasted to our US$31 million. That indicates the non-connection between the policy of appeasement as contrasted to Vietnam’s policy of confrontation,” he said.

Bilateral trade between the Philippines and China stood at $21.94 billion in 2016 while that between Vietnam and China was at $71.85 billion, he said.

Tourist arrivals in Vietnam from China reached four million in 2017 while in the Philippines it was only 968,447.

Duterte has been trying to forge closer ties to China in an effort to court Chinese money and investments in the country.

He has also chosen to take a non-confrontational approach to China’s increasing militarization of the South China Sea dispute and to back-burn a 2016 United Nations-backed tribunal ruling invalidating much of Beijing’s expansive claims to the disputed seas.

Drilon also urged the Senate to conduct an audit of the country’s foreign policy, saying that the chamber is the partner of the executive department in conducting the country’s foreign relations.

“It is only correct that the Senate be informed of how foreign relations are being conducted; otherwise we will be in the dark, and therefore, I support that proposed review of our relationship with China,” Drilon, a former justice secretary and Senate president, said.

“We are making the call addressed to the chair of the committee to assert the Senate’s role as a partner in the conduct of foreign affairs. The Senate lead should take a serious look at this and assert the role of the Senate in this area.”

Drilon said that the Philippines should be more assertive of its rights in the South China Sea and of the 2016 ruling.

Aside from China and the Philippines, a host of regional countries also have competing claims to the seas, through which $3 trillion worth of trade annually passes.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/14/1824572/drilon-philippines-should-review-policy-appeasement-toward-china#ZmcSTjwm30jYT3Xj.99

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The Philippines Can Win Against China In The South China Sea

June 7, 2018
 / 05:06 AM June 07, 2018

Even the country’s defense chief issued a statement implying that we don’t stand any chance against China.

There may be some truth to it in terms of our current military capabilities, but let us not forget to take a look at our valiant past.

Simply giving in to another country’s baseless demand without any sign of hesitation will be a big insult to those who offered their very lives for the sake of our freedom.

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This is not to say that our lives should be put on the line, without having any practical means to defend ourselves.

We must not forget that there are plenty of alternatives we can take advantage of without resorting to conventional war.

Filipinos are well-known for their audacity and resilience, be it from man-made problems or natural calamities.

Our national heroes, despite the enormous lack of weaponry needed to defend our country on equal footing with their adversaries, were courageous enough to fight with whatever was left for them to utilize — because that is what their sense of patriotism urged them to do.

If there are things that China cannot match, these are our courage and nationalism. They may have greater powers, but unlike them, we have the delicadeza not to claim what is not rightfully ours.

Though we have been awarded the landmark UN tribunal ruling on the South China Sea, we remain amiable and decent enough not to retaliate against China’s tasteless bullying.

That, together with a thorough strategy, will suffice for us to win this war.

KARA MARTINA PACUMIO, pkaramartina@gmail.com

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/113745/can-win-china#ixzz5HknEpMKa
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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US defense chief Jim Mattis rebukes Chinese ‘intimidation’ in South China Sea

June 2, 2018

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has issued a sharp criticism of Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea. He accused China of “intimidation and coercion” by placing weapons on manmade islands in the disputed waterway.

    
An aerial shot of a reef in the disputed Spratly islands, taken April 21 2017 (Getty Images/AFP/T. Aljibe)

Beijing’s military buildup in the South China Sea calls into question its broader goals in the region, the US secretary of defense told a high-profile international security forum on Saturday.

Jim Mattis said Beijing had recently deployed hardware including anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers as well as landed bomber aircraft in contested areas.

“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion,” Mattis told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

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Mattis at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

He said the US remained committed to ensuring free and open transit in the region, a hub for shipping and natural resources beset by overlapping claims from China and several of its neighbors including Vietnam and the Philippines.

China believes islands, islets and other maritime features in the South China Sea are its sovereign territory and that it is within its rights to build defenses on them. Neighboring nations fear China will use the facilities to reach further militarily and potentially restrict navigation.

A map of the South China Sea showing Chinese claims and disputed islands

Weeks of heightened tensions

Mattis’ remarks follow a rocky past few weeks in US-China relations as the administration of US President Donald Trump seeks to balance cooperation with China on issues like North Korea with dealing with Beijing’s activities in the disputed sea.

Last month the US withdrew an invitation for the Chinese navy to take part in a training excercise called Rim of the Pacific because the Pentagon said it had strong evidence that China had deployed weapons systems on disputed islands.

On Sunday, two US warships sailed close to the Paracel Islands in a long-planned operation designed to challenge China’s claims. China protested the move.

Quick pivot to cooperation

Mattis also said the United States welcomed cooperation with China and said he had accepted Beijing’s invitation to visit there soon.

He said the US “will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China, cooperation when possible, and competing vigorously where we must.”

China has not sent high-level officials to the Shangri-La conference. An editorial in the state-run Global Times newspaper said the tension in the South China Sea was “due to the US continuing to increase its military presence in the region, forcing China to naturally upgrade its defensive weapons on the islands.”

“This, in turn, gives the US more excuses to exert military pressure, causing regional tensions to spiral,” the Global Times said.

Modi urges unity

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the keynote speaker, urged countries across the region to unite against protectionism and territorial tensions, for the prosperity of all.

Referring to maritime issues, including those in the South China Sea, Modi said his country did not see the region as a club of limited members.

“India stands for a free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific region, which embraces us all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity,” he said, using the term Indo-Pacific, which has become increasingly used by diplomats in the US, Australia, India and Japan to refer to the region instead of Asia-Pacific, which was seen as placing China too firmly at the center.

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

se/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

http://www.dw.com/en/us-defense-chief-jim-mattis-rebukes-chinese-intimidation-in-south-china-sea/a-44049874

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Mattis Accuses Beijing of ‘Intimidation and Coercion’ in South China Sea

June 2, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis harshly criticized the Chinese government on Saturday for its continuing militarization of a string of islands in the South China Sea, calling the new presence of advanced military equipment and missiles there a flagrant show of military power.

“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use,” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in Singapore on Saturday, referring to new installations on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Credit Yong Teck Lim/Associated Press

“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion,” Mr. Mattis said during a speech on Saturday at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a regional security conference.

Mr. Mattis recently disinvited the Chinese military from a large, multinational naval exercise this summer due in part to China’s positioning of those weapons, including antiship and surface-to-air missiles, on the Spratly Islands.

China’s activities, Mr. Mattis said, are “in stark contrast to the openness our strategy promotes,” calling into question “China’s broader goals.”

Mr. Mattis’s remarks come as the United States tries to navigate increased tensions with Beijing, even as the Trump administration seeks Chinese help in curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

The Chinese military participated in the multinational exercise, called the Rim of the Pacific, in 2014 and 2016. Mr. Mattis called the move to withdraw their invitation an “initial response,” without specifying what additional moves the United States might be considering. He added that he was open to cooperation with China “wherever possible.”

“The U.S. will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China,” Mr. Mattis said, “competing vigorously where we must.”

On Sunday, two American warships sailed within 12 miles of islands in the South China Sea, in an attempt to assert the United States’ stance on freedom of navigation in international waters. China has laid claim to most of the South China Sea, in defiance of international norms.

Mr. Mattis tried to reassure allies in the region that the United States was committed to handling both China’s rapid expansion and the threat from North Korea.

“We are focused on modernizing our alliance with both the Republic of Korea and Japan, transforming these critical alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Mr. Mattis said, using South Korea’s formal name.

He also said the United States would continue to support Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its territory, with military and other assistance.

Aaron L. Friedberg, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and a former deputy assistant for national security affairs, said that Mr. Mattis’s speech was probably meant to ease American allies’ concerns not just about regional threats, but about President Trump’s oft-changing foreign policy.

“They don’t know what’s coming next,” Mr. Friedberg said. “There’s not much people even at Mattis’s levels can do about it.”

Mr. Mattis said little about North Korea in his speech, which came just hours after Mr. Trump said that the June 12 talks in Singapore with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, were back on. He said the American goal remained the “irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” In response to a question, he added that American troop levels in South Korea would not be on the agenda for the summit talks.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A5 of the New York Times
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Mattis takes hard line on China in Singapore speech

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/01/asia/james-mattis-singapore-shangri-la-intl/index.html

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BBC

South China Sea dispute: Mattis says China ‘intimidating neighbours’

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44340439

Satellite image of Woody Island

Beijing has been turning islands into military bases. Reuters photo

Mattis attacks Beijing for ‘coercion’ in South China Sea

June 2, 2018

US defence secretary also hits out at Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative

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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis © Getty

Ben Bland in Singapore

Jim Mattis, the US Secretary of Defence, has attacked Beijing for its militarisation of the contested South China Sea and “intimidation and coercion” of Asian nations, warning that its actions call into question President Xi Jinping’s “broader goals”.

Mr Mattis said on Saturday that Beijing’s deployment of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, as well as electronic jammers, on man-made islands in the South China Sea undermined President Xi’s commitment during a White House meeting in 2015 not to militarise the Spratly islands.

“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purpose of intimidation and coercion,” he said in Singapore at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual Asia-Pacific security forum organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a think-tank.

China has long argued that its growing military investments and its uncompromising stance in the South China Sea are defensive in nature, while the US and some south-east Asian nations have warned that Beijing is seeking to intimidate and undermine international law.

In response to China’s deployment of military assets in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, Washington last week revoked an invitation to Beijing to attend a large naval exercise.

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Chinese bomber

Mr Mattis admitted that this was a “relatively small consequence” for China but warned of “much larger” consequences should Beijing continue to upset the established order.

He also criticised President Xi’s signature Belt and Road Infrastructure Initiative, warning that Beijing would alienate Asian nations if its projects leave partner countries with “mountainous debts” that will reduce their “freedom of political action”.

“Eventually these things do not pay off even if on the financial ledger sheet or the power ledger sheet they appear to,” he said.

Beijing has dismissed the US attacks on its South China Sea policy as “ridiculous”, accusing the US of militarising the disputed waters through its regular freedom of navigation operations, sailing close to man-made islands controlled by China.

But Mr Mattis rejected China’s position, insisting that the US was acting to uphold international law and freedom of navigation “for all nations, large and small”.

He said he would be travelling to Beijing later this month for talks with his Chinese counterparts about the growing differences between the world’s two biggest economies.

https://www.ft.com/content/e35a488c-6615-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56

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