PH seeks quick ruling on suit vs China

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albert del rosario

DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario (center). INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines says it wants an international tribunal to issue a decision as quickly as it can on a Manila complaint that questions the legality of China’s massive territorial claims in the South China Sea because of escalating tension in the dispute.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said late Tuesday that the Philippines would ask its lawyers to petition the Arbitral Tribunal in the Hague, the Netherlands, to issue an earlier ruling after China declared it would not get involved in the case, which should shorten the arbitration proceedings.

Del Rosario said he hopes for a decision as early as next year because “the situation is getting worse every day in the South China Sea.” The Philippines has recently protested against Chinese land reclamations in at least two disputed reefs.

Asked about the possibility of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos) issuing an order that would halt activities in the South China Sea, del Rosario said they were looking at the possibility of requesting that also.

“Well there is term called ‘provisional measure’ and we’re looking into that. It’s a study that is in progress,” he said.

“We obviously have a situation that is exacerbating there and we need to do something urgently to be able to curtail a possible jeopardy,” del Rosario said.

Del Rosario previously expressed his intent to raise to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) the call for a moratorium on all activities in the South China Sea in order to ease tensions.

China was seen conducting reclamation activities on at least two reefs in the Spratly Islands and is said to be likely doing the same on others.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea including parts of the Philippines 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. With a report from INQUIRER.net

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