US report vs China’s ‘unlawful’ maritime claims affirms ‘legally binding’ 2016 arbitral ruling – DFA
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines welcomed the U.S. State Department’s 47-page report on China’s “unlawful” maritime claims, saying this affirms Manila’s 2016 victory before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
“We welcome the affirmation of the 2016 Arbitral Award by the US State Department’s Limits in the Seas No. 150: People’s Republic of China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea,” the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Friday.
According to the DFA, the U.S. report is also “consistent” with the Philippines-US Joint Vision Statement issued last Nov. 16.
This joint statement maintained that China’s “expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea are inconsistent with the international law of the sea as reflected in theUnited Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and with the unanimous July 12, 2016 Award in the South China Sea Arbitration…, a decision that, pursuant to the Convention, is legally binding on the Philippines and the PRC.”
Last week, the US State Department released a 47-page research paper debunking China’s expansive claims over the South China Sea.
“The overall effect of these maritime claims is that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) unlawfully claims sovereignty or some form of exclusive jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea,” the paper read.
“These claims gravely undermine the rule of law in the oceans and numerous universally recognized provisions of international law reflected in the Convention,” it added, referring to the 1982 UNCLOS, a treaty signed by China, but not by the U.S.
Earlier, former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario viewed the U.S. report as part of an “ongoing consolidation” of international support for the 2016 arbitral ruling that Manila won over Beijing.
In 2013, the Philippines filed a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in the Netherlands challenging China’s sweeping claim of nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.
The PCA ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016 invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim. Beijing has repeatedly refused to recognize the ruling.
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