China’s remarks on arbitration ruling an insult to int’l community – Bayan
MANILA, Philippines — China’s insistence on the alleged invalidity of the 2016 arbitral ruling junking its nine-dash line claim on the West Philippine Sea is an affront to the international community that subscribes to such laws, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), an activist group, said on Tuesday.
Bayan said the Chinese embassy’s response to Manila’s call for respect of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling showed a blatant disregard of international law.
China said on Monday, through a tweet by its embassy here that it remained firm in its belief that the “South China arbitration and so-called award are illegal and invalid.”
The Chinese embassy made the tweet, now deleted, after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. commemorated the anniversary of the PCA ruling.
“It shows blatant disregard of international law and is an insult to the community of nations that abide by such law,” Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes said in a message to reporters.
“China wants the Philippines to abandon the ruling and instead engage in arrangements approved by Xi and Duterte, which will ultimately result in the loss of our sovereign rights and the solidification of China’s illegal claims,” he added.
In a message last July 12, Locsin insisted that the Philippines’ victory in the Hague tribunal was non-negotiable — amid several issues plaguing China’s alleged intrusion into Philippine waters.
During the early days of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the PCA ruled as invalid and without historical basis China’s nine-dash line claim —a series of lines that show their supposed territory within the South China Sea but also includes a huge part of the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
The Hague ruling also found out that China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights by intruding into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“China cannot claim the entire South China Sea,” Reyes said. “It cannot claim the West Philippine Sea. The Filipino people will not allow it. Atin ang Pinas.”
The complaint before PCA was filed by Duterte’s predecessor, then President Benigno Aquino III.
The case damaged ties between the two countries. However, Duterte, on assuming office, adopted an independent foreign policy that repaired the relationship.
This is not the first time that China insisted on its rights over parts of the WPS. In 2018, Locsin himself admitted that China would not recognize the arbitral ruling during discussions for a memorandum of understanding between the two countries regarding a joint oil and gas exploration.
Previously, Beijing tightened its grip on the West Philippine Sea by establishing two Chinese districts in Paracel and Spratly Islands, which are well within the Philippines’ EEZ.
To counter that move, the municipality of Kalayaan sought the power to name three sandbars between Pag-asa (Thitu) Island and Chinese-occupied Zamora (Subi) Reef.
—With a report from Jim Mendoza (trainee)
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