Yasay asks int’l community to help enforce UN ruling
INCOMING Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has called on the international community to “get their act together” to enforce a United Nations arbitration court’s decision that will likely negate China’s territorial claims and occupation of reefs and shoals in the South China Sea.
Yasay told reporters over the weekend that he was hopeful that neighboring naval powers like Japan would stand by the Philippines in enforcing the ruling.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to issue a decision on July 7 on the Philippines’ complaint questioning China’s nine-dash line that encloses practically the entire sea.
Beijing claims 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea, including waters within the 370-km exclusive economic zones of its small neighbors, including the Philippines.
China remains firm that it will not abide by the UN court’s decision as it is not a party to the arbitration case.
Besides the Philippines and China, claimants in the South China Sea include Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Freedom of navigation
But to be able to convince China to follow the arbitration ruling, Yasay said, “it’s very important that the international community who is concerned in ensuring the freedom of navigation in the contested area, and the overflight in that area as well and the maritime security over the sea, to get together….”
A united stand, he said, would “make the Chinese even understand that it is for their benefit to resolve the conflict in this area peacefully, that there is more for the Chinese to lose if they will take aggressive action and use force than if they will pursue the resolution of this dispute through peaceful means.”
“That is the principle that we should be guided,” Yasay said.
Last week, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the Philippines had the support of naval powers, such as the United States, France, Japan, Australia and the European Union in enforcing the rule of law in the sea dispute.
China has long intensified campaign to support its position on its historical claims in the South China Sea.
Rule of law
“Even if China has said that it will not respect the decision, we would like to hope that the international community will be with us together in urging China to respect the decision and to respect the rule of law as well,” Yasay said.
He said the court’s ruling would not only benefit the Philippines but also the international community since it would ensure peace and stability in the disputed waters.
“The outcome of the decision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
(Unclos) court is not so much only pertaining to the Philippines’ interest and to the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the disputed area, but most importantly, this is a matter of international concern,” Yasay said.
The Philippines is also prepared to accept defeat in some of the 15 points it raised in its complaint, he said.
“Whatever the decision will be, we will respect it. If it is in favor with China, we will respect it. If it is in favor with the Philippines, we will respect it,” he said.
Yasay said the Philippines was still hoping that “China will respect it because we both are committed to the rule of law and we all are signatories to
The dispute, he said, “is a matter of concern to those who fly the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea in pursing trade with the countries in that area.”
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