Philippines documenting China moves in Scarborough as ‘evidence’ in tribunal case
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine government has been watching and documenting the conduct of Chinese vessels at the contested Scarborough (or Panatag) Shoal, in preparation for presenting evidence on Chinese incursions at an international tribunal, President Benigno Aquino said on Thursday afternoon.
“We are documenting everything that will have to be. At the time we get to the proper fora we will present all of this,” President Benigno Aquino told reporters when told about the increased presence of Chinese ships at the Panatag Shoal.
The Philippines and China are in the middle of a standoff at the shoal, with the two countries maintaining their presence in the territory to assert their sovereignty.
While the Armed Forces reported the presence in the area of 14 Chinese ships, only a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel and a Philippine Coast Guard ship represent the country in the standoff.
Aquino said he would be briefed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario regarding the country’s legal strategy in bringing the issue of the Chinese incursion to the International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea.
The problem with bringing the dispute to the ITLOS is the need for the two contending parties to both agree to come before the tribunal.