Experts dismayed by Asean’s skipping of South China Sea issue


MANILA — Filipino security and maritime law experts were dismayed by the Philippines’ decision to sidestep the South China Sea dispute and set aside the country’s historic legal victory in the arbitral tribunal while chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Professor Jay Batongbacal, director of the UP College of Law Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea minced no words.

“The Philippine leadership of Asean is now overshadowed by its deference to China on the disputes,” Batongbacal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message.

“With this, the Philippine and Asean claimants will see little or no progress in the management of the disputes, despite the opportunity provided by the award and its determination of their maritime rights outside of the sovereignty issues,” he said.

Aside from the Philippines, other Asean claimant countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.

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