Philippines optimistic to win case against China
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines is optimistic and confident that it will win in its arbitration case against China, saying Beijing’s moves to pursue its territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) are ‘invalid.”
“We are here to prove that from the point of view of the rule of law, all of the actions and all of the claims of China are not consistent with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and therefore they are invalid,” Jardeleza said in a forum organized by the Philippine Society of International Law Thursday.
“We are a small country but we plan to win big on this litigation,” he said.
The Philippines is protesting the nine-dash line claim of China that covers nearly the entire South China Sea including parts of the country’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Under the UNCLOS, a country is entitled to a 200 nautical mile EEZ from the coastline where it has the sole right to exploit the maritime resources within.
Former University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law dean Merlin Magallona said in the forum that China’s interpretation of UNCLOS was wrong and that is the reason for the Philippines seeking arbitration before the UN.
“The Philippines’ basis is telling China that you are wrong in your interpretation and application of the UNCLOS and what you have been doing to the Philippines are offensive and illegal,” Magallona said.
Last January 27, the Chinese Coast Guard drove away Filipino fishermen from Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Panatag shoal or Scarborough shoal, using water cannons.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) submitted its protest to the Chinese Embassy Tuesday saying the CCG ship “continuously blew its horn and doused the fishing vessel for several minutes.”
At least nine other incidents of harassment were reported in 2013, the DFA said.
China rejected the protest of the Philippines saying it has indisputable sovereignty over the entire South China Sea and that its coast guard ships have jurisdiction over the Panatag Shoal.
During the forum, Jardeleza expressed confidence that the members of the arbitral tribunal will rule on the merits of the case and therefore in favor of the Philippines.
“This is a big opportunity for the tribunal to say something for the rule of law … These people will want to have their place in history, [they will not want to say they have] no jurisdiction and [they] don’t want to have a say on these matters,” Jardeleza said.
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