Security council debate: PH takes on China at UN | Global News

Security council debate: PH takes on China at UN

MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines has criticized the massive reclamation being conducted by China on contested islands and waters in the South China Sea, during a United Nations Security Council open debate that was initiated by China.

Philippine Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Irene Susan Natividad also called for international action to ensure maritime security in the contested areas and protect fisher folk and others who make their livelihood there.

“The massive reclamation is a direct threat to the Philippines and other claimant states and should be considered a great concern as it threatens security and overall peace and stability in the region,” Natividad told Security Council members.


Manila earlier filed a new diplomatic protest against Beijing after it discovered massive land reclamation going on at Mischief Reef, which is claimed by the Philippines.


Apart from Mischief Reef (Panganiban Reef), China has also been enlarging Kennan (Hughes) Reef and Mabini (Johnson South) Reef, over which the Philippines also lays claim.

Biodiversity destruction

Natividad said the reclamation was also causing “widespread destruction of the region’s biodiversity,” irreparably damaging its ecological balance.

“Such irreversible damage will have long-term effects on all the peoples across geopolitical boundaries who have depended on the sea for their livelihood for generations,” she said.

Moreover, she said, it was equally incumbent upon the international community to ensure the safety of those “who have been peacefully, sustainably and legitimately pursuing their livelihood” in the contested waters.

Cause of peace


“Those whose actions endanger the lives of these people and those who do not heed the call for restraint are not being true to the cause of peace,” Natividad said.

This was the first time the Philippines raised the issue of China’s reclamation of contested islands before the UN Security Council, which is mandated to impose sanctions and authorize military action in order to maintain international peace and security.

Natividad spoke on “Maintaining International Peace and Security: Reflect on History, Reaffirm the Strong Commitment to the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations” at the debate on Feb. 23 which China convened as president of the council for the month.

The Philippine envoy reaffirmed the country’s commitment to promoting global peace and security by resolving conflicts at home and in the region, saying the recourse to settle the dispute in the South China Sea was a testament to the country’s commitment to the principles of the UN Charter.

Bilateral negotiations

“The Philippines has resorted to the rule of law in trying to resolve these tensions and believes the core instrument for resolving maritime disputes is the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos),” Natividad said.

China, in a position paper in December, rejected the arbitration case the Philippines had filed in the UN arbitral tribunal, saying the dispute should be resolved through bilateral negotiations.

Natividad said the international community must be informed about the Philippines’ position and the developments in the disputes in the West Philippine Sea, “since it is an issue of global concern.”


“The Philippines has resorted to arbitration to clarify maritime entitlements and settle maritime disputes peacefully through Unclos. Arbitration is fully entrenched in Chapter VI, Article 33, of the UN Charter on the pacific settlement of disputes,” she said.

Manila has invoked the UN law to defend its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and oppose China’s sweeping claim over the South China Sea.

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The Security Council’s open debate is one of the events scheduled in 2015 as the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary.

TAGS: China, debate, Philippines, Security Council, UN

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