Philippines wins historic case against China over West Philippine Sea

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands has ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case against China over the West Philippine Sea on Tuesday, July 12 after three years and two hearings.

Philippines wins historic case against China over West Philippine Sea
"[The] Tribunal concluded that, as between the Philippines and China, there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources, in excess of the rights provided for by the Convention, within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’,” the tribunal statement said.

“Having found that certain areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, the Tribunal found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by (a) interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, (b) constructing artificial islands and (c) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone,” the PCA press release added.

On March 30, 2014, the Philippines submitted a historic pleading against China’s claims over the West Philippine sea. The almost 4,000-page document called a memorial, aims to end decades of reported bullying by the rising superpower.

“It is about defending what is legitimately ours. It is about securing our children's future. It is about guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations. It is about helping to preserve regional peace, security, and stability,” former Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

According to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, also a member of the Philippine delegation to the Hague, Beijing’s nine-dash line which includes 80% of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea is void and baseless under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"If we lose 80% of our EEZ in the South China Sea, that means we lose 80% of the fish we catch annually in the South China Sea,” Carpio said.

Insisting its “historic rights” in the ownership of the region, China has declined to accept and participate in the proceedings saying that the maritime dispute should be settled by the two countries in bilateral talks.

A report by Time claims that PCA’s decision is not enforceable citing China’s plan to dismiss the entire case as a “political farce.”

In the July 8 editorial of People’s Daily, it was said: “The case, from the very beginning, is a trap set by the U.S. to maintain its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region. One of its real purposes is to alienate China and its neighbors by defaming China in the name of international law.”

--Mini, The Summit Express

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