China slams PH bid in UN

Beijing says ‘never’ to int’l arbitration


BEIJING—China on Friday accused the Philippines of trying to legalize its occupation of islands in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), repeating that Beijing would never agree to international arbitration.

The Philippines is seeking a United Nations ruling on the validity of Chinese claims to the resource-rich sea, with a possible unfavorable verdict for China seen as a test of its willingness to yield over territorial disputes.

Manila said on Thursday that a UN arbitration court had set up a tribunal that would handle the Philippine case, but China said this was an attempt to steal Chinese territory.

Manila’s announcement came after Shunjai Yanai, president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos), informed the Philippines about the appointment of the last three arbiters to the panel that would handle the Philippine case and rule on the country’s bid to clarify its rights in the West Philippine Sea.

On Friday, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters in Manila that the UN arbitral tribunal may open deliberations on the merits of the Philippine case by July.

The deliberations will proceed even without the participation of China, Del Rosario said.

Any decision the tribunal hands down will be “final and unappealable,” Del Rosario said.

“The first thing they will do starting Monday is to organize themselves and establish the rules of the tribunal,” Del Rosario said.

“The second thing that they will do is determine whether they have jurisdiction over the case,” he said. “That should take another couple of months and maybe by July, they can already be working on the merits of the case.”

Philippine sovereignty

The Philippines brought the case in January, asking the United Nations to order a halt to China’s activities that it said violated Philippine sovereignty over islands within its 360-kilometer exclusive economic zone recognized under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

Invoking that law, the Philippines asked the tribunal to invalidate China’s “nine-dash line” map, as it encroaches on the Philippine exclusive economic zone. The map shows Chinese territory covering almost the whole West Philippine Sea, including the islands near the shores of its neighbors that are believed to be sitting atop vast energy and mineral reserves.

‘Illegal occupation’

China’s foreign ministry posted a statement on its website on Friday saying the Philippines was attempting to “cover in a cloak of ‘legality’ its illegal occupation of Chinese islands and reefs.”

Beijing called on the Philippines to immediately withdraw all personnel and facilities from the islands that it said the Filipinos were occupying. Those include five islands in the Spratly archipelago in the West Philippine Sea.

China has returned the Philippine notification of proceedings on the UN arbitral tribunal, rejecting arbitration and asserting “indisputable sovereignty” over the sea.

Instead of arbitration, China insisted on negotiations with the Philippines to settle the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

“The position outlined by China will not change,” the Chinese foreign ministry statement said.

Unclos unapplicable

The Unclos does not apply in this case, as what the Philippines is asking for is a decision on sovereignty, the ministry said.

“China’s refusal to accept the Philippines’ request for arbitration has full grounding in international law,” it said.

The Chinese statement came a day after the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) called for urgent talks with China to seek a resolution to the increasingly tense territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

After efforts to engage China in talks on a code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea all but collapsed last year at a summit in Cambodia, a close economic ally of China, the Asean leaders agreed on Thursday to send their foreign ministers to a meeting ahead of an Asean-China meeting expected in August to establish solidarity on the proposed code.

Asean members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the sea, as does Taiwan. The competing claims have for decades made the area one of Asia’s potential powder kegs.

The Philippines accused China of occupying Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), resource-rich shallows within the country’s exclusive economic zone, after breaking an agreement on the withdrawal of the two countries’ ships to ease tensions in the area.

The Chinese occupation of the shoal forced the Philippines to take action in the UN arbitration court.

Enforcement another matter

Asked whether the court’s ruling would be binding on China, Del Rosario answered: “Once it’s been determined that they have jurisdiction, ultimately an award will come down, and that award will be final and it will not be appealable.”

In a recent interview by e-mail, international law expert Tom Ginsburg, a professor at the University of Chicago, said that while the UN tribunal’s rulings are binding on both parties, there is no guarantee that China will comply.

“The panel decision is binding regardless of whether a party participates,” Ginsburg said. “Enforcement, however, is another matter.”

Ginsburg said that most international laws assume parties will comply in good faith, but this does not always happen.

“I do not expect that anyone will be able to force China to comply with any adverse decision that is issued,” he said. With a report from Agence France-Presse

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Eugene De Ocampo

    front line natin sa laban yung mahilig mag rally at yung mga against sa mga sundalong kano baka kasi kaya nilang protektahan ang ating bansa sa mga chino kasi ayaw nila sa amerikanong sundalo na manatili dito

  • Val Sor

    Without a strong navy, it is doubtful the Philippines can enforce the exclusive economic zone, in case the tribunal hands a favorable response.

    • kanoy

      it is 10000000% irrelevant whatever the tribunal decision is,,,China does not recognize the tribunal,,,period,,,aquino knows it but is trying to act like he is doing something of importance,,,,fraud

      • Barney Stinson

        Train terror cells to plot attacks against that stinking hellhole that is China.. nah just f*cking around haha

      • Val Sor

        UN and ASEAN can exert political and economic pressure if we have a legal decision. But first the legal ruling. If we do not go in this direction, what do you propose is the best course of action? Doing nothing is worse.

  • Jim Lapid

    our islands a total of 7,107 and its not included those small islands during low tide season, its in our philippine territory! wake up chinks its ours

  • Barney Stinson

    I’ll do business with them Chinks just because of money. But I will never respect a communist regime. Death to PRC.

    • 33Sam

      Communism is just a tool to push for new world order. Its like Lassie making sure the sheep stay in line and dont stray. Its been at the core of American Presidents as well for a long while except Kennedy and to a point Reagan. Today the White House is now a beacon of communism with Frank Marshal Davis’ own son at the helm. That China is communist is only the fruit of the same globalist thrust to achieve new world order. Mao was a globalist plant who murdered over 60 million of his own people.

      • Barney Stinson

        ooooo-kaaaay… totally off from the topic of this article :|

  • mewo_meow

    Takot ang Tsina na iakyat sa UN ang isyu na ito dahil mas marami tayong kaibigan sa international community kaysa sa kanila.

  • 33Sam

    Hey Philippines if you don’t get your land back or a taste of the resources its because the cartel cabal eugenicists have conspired to keep you out of the loop while it made deals with higher bidders for the booty. Stop dreaming about the United Nations being an international court to sort out grievances. it was started from the League of Nations as a world government tool. A world government to be built to satisfy the needs of a few sacrificing the needs of the many.

    • gerp

      whoa!… science fiction made in China… please put some translations in english so the Free People will understand…. this is a great movie, I guess hahaha

      • 33Sam

        Movies are LIFE IMITATING ART. You need to realize that Hollywood isn’t there for your entertainment. Its there for your information. Its there to manipulate your psyche in real ways. Its telling you real information. I guess while China builds a mega mall in Mexico and is sending its troops there to travel along the NAFTA SUPER HIGHWAY on up into the U.S. and Canada is a movie as well.

        Forces are being moved on a global scale in stealth mode. China figures prominently in the new world order. Ownership of land is shifting according to Agenda 21 which your own President Fidel Ramos signed on to in his 1997 SONA with his executive order PA21 upon insistence by the UN, and Cesar Virata signed the P.I. on to the Trilateral Commission. These groups are part of the new world order. Those not in the know are like ants crawling on a chess board while giants move pieces in ways an ant can’t understand. The time to be cognizant is now, not later when its too late.

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


editors' picks




latest videos