Latest Stories

PH takes China to UN arbitral tribunal


Alberto del Rosario

Foreign Affairs secretary Alberto del Rosario. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has taken the step of bringing its West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) disputes to China before an Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) for a peaceful resolution, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario announced Tuesday.

Del Rosario, in a press conference, said that a note verbale detailing the Philippine’s claim that “challenges before the Arbitral Tribunal the validity of China’s nine-dash claim to almost the entire South China Sea (SCS) including the West Philippine Sea and asking China to desist from unlawful activities that violate the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines under the 1982 UNCLOS” was handed to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing at around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime dispute with China……To this day, a solution is still elusive. We hope that the Arbitral Proceedings shall bring this dispute to a durable solution,” Del Rosario said.

“We hope that China would join us in this aspiration,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario noted that Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza has been tasked as the country’s legal representative in the proceedings. He added that Paul Reichler of Foley and Hoag LLP will serve as the country’s legal counsel.

Del Rosario said that the country’s move to notify China of its decision to pursue a legal track “initiates the arbitral proceedings under Article 287 and Annex VII of UNCLOS,” and was made in pursuant of President Benigno Aquino III’s mandate to use a “rules based-approach” policy to defend the country’s territory and maritime domain.

In a separate sheet containing prepared questions and answers for the press, the DFA noted that the Philippines had adopted ”political, diplomatic, and legal approaches to solving the disputes but that “at this stage, the legal track presents the most durable option to defend the national interest and territory on the basis of international law.”

Del Rosario, in the press conference, said that the Philippines wants the UN arbitral tribunal to issue a declaration saying that China’s nine-dash line claim were invalid and were contrary to Unclos; directing China to respect the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), continental shelf, contiguous zone, and territorial sea over the West Philippine Sea; and to ask China to desist from activities that violate the country’s sovereign rights.

In his statement, Del Rosario noted that the country asserted that an arbitral tribunal has the authority to hear and make judgments based on the Philippines’ claim “because the dispute is about the interpretation and application by state parties of their obligations under Unclos.”

“While we proceed with the legal track, the Philippines continues to exert all efforts to move forward and enhance its relations with China on the basis of mutual respect,” Del Rosario said.

The DFA noted that though there were factors to consider, it believes that the country had “a very good case under international law.”

“What is more important is that we are able to present our case against China……We expect the international law to be the great equalizer,” it said. It added that based on cases so far handled by international tribunals on maritime disputes, it would take three to four years to resolve the case.

It added that since arbitration was a peaceful means to solving disputes, the Philippines’ action should not be a cause for adverse effects on the relations between the two countries, and that the country would “continue to pursue an enhancement of our bilateral relations in all areas of cooperation.”

The DFA also noted that its decision was not influenced by any other country.

When pressed for reaction, the Chinese embassy, in an emailed statement sent by its spokesperson Zhang Hua, said that Ma Keqing met with DFA Assistant Secretary Theresa Lazaro and was handed the note verbale.

Zhang added that Ma Keqing stressed that China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea and its adjacent waters.

“The Chinese side strongly holds the disputes on South China Sea should be settled by parties concerned through negotiations. This is also the consensus reached by parties concerned in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” Zhang said in the statement.

Both countries are embroiled in territorial disputes over atolls and reefs in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), believed to be the site of vast oil and gas resources.

The disputes among claimant countries have heightened in recent weeks, with a report of China’s plan to board and seize ships that enter what it claims to be its territory in the disputed sea.

China claims nearly the entire sea, while the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan claim parts of the area, believed to be the site of oil and gas deposits.

China’s purported plan came days after it issued new passports bearing a map showing China’s nine-dash claims in the West Philippine Sea. Both the Philippines and Vietnam have refused to stamp the Chinese e-passports in protest of China’s claims, and have also sought China’s clarification on its new maritime patrol rules.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Features , Global Nation , Spratly Islands , West Philippine Sea

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    dnd / afp

    prepare for a black eye
    sa west philippine sea

Copyright © 2014, , .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Camilla’s brother dies of NYC head injury
  • Nepal officials go to Everest to try to end crisis
  • Escudero ready to defend self should name appear in Napoles’ list
  • Obama calls for peaceful end to island dispute
  • Russia not abiding by agreement on Ukraine—Obama
  • Sports

  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Marketplace