China not first to name Scarborough Shoal, features in Spratlys
Contrary to its claim, China was not the first to name the Scarborough Shoal (Filipino name: Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc) and other geologic features in the Spratlys, Supreme Court Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio underscored on Monday.
At a forum by the Association of Congressional Chiefs of Staff of the House of Representatives, Carpio, one of the leading figures in the Philippines’ 2016 arbitration victory against China, cited Bill Hayton’s article in the Center for International Maritime Security, which compared the English and Chinese names of geologic features in the Spratlys:
He said Hayton concluded that the Chinese transliterations were “probably taken from ‘China Sea Directory, published in 1906 by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office.'”
Carpio also noted that China was not the first to name the Scarborough Shoal because it was named only after 1947.
Citing Hayton, Carpio said the first Chinese name of Scarborough Shoal was “Si-ka-ba- luo 斯卡巴 礁, a Chinese transliteration of the English name Scarborough.”
He further explained that China only started to claim the Spratlys when it released its nine-dash line map in 1947. Scarborough Shoal appears in this map but without a name, he said.
China and the Philippines have a territorial dispute over Scarborough Shoal, while in the Spratly Islands, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei have territorial disputes, Carpio said.
China and Vietnam are claiming the entire Spratlys, while the Philippines and Malaysia are claiming only certain islands and rocks above water at high tide.
When China argued that the Philippines does not have sovereignty over Spratlys and Scarborough because these territories lie outside the treaty lines mandated under the 1898 Treaty of Paris, Carpio said the Philippines countered it by citing the 1900 Treaty of Washington.
In the Treaty of Washington, Carpio said Spain clarified that it had also relinquished to the United States “all title and claim of title, which (Spain) may have had at the time of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace of Paris, to any and all islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago, lying outside the lines” of the Treaty of Paris.
In the same forum, Carpio also called on the Filipino people to help educate the Chinese people that their country’s historical claim on nearly the entire South China Sea was “totally false” and “has no basis,” and to “encourage all navies of the world to exercise freedom of navigation in the high seas and exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the South China Sea.”
In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled as invalid Beijing’s claim over vast portions of the South China Sea, which Carpio dubbed as the most important waterway now.
China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including waters within the EEZs of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines (the West Philippine Sea), Vietnam, and Taiwan.
Carpio also recounted how the Philippines proved that China “never owned or controlled the South China Sea at any time in its history” by submitting to the Tribunal over 170 ancient maps – the “highest number of ancient maps ever submitted to an international tribunal.”
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay also talked at the forum, where he said the Duterte administration’s move to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to conduct joint oil and gas exploration with China might be “unconstitutional.”
In his book “The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio explained that the term “West Philippine Sea” refers to the body of water consisting of the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, and extended continental shelf (ECS) of the Philippines.
The WPS, he further said, is only a part of the larger sea — the South China Sea. /ee
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