Foreign powers enforcing ruling on South China Sea


MANILA, Philippines — Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio disputed yesterday Malacañang’s claim that “no power on earth” can enforce an international arbitral court’s ruling invalidating China’s massive claim in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea.

Speaking at the first general assembly and forum of the Akademyang Filipino at the University of the Philippines Professional Schools in Taguig City, Carpio said navies of the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, India and Japan have been conducting freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea since the 2016 ruling by an arbitral tribunal based in The Hague invalidated China’s massive nine-dash line claim.

The same ruling reaffirmed the Philippines’ own maritime entitlements.

“All these naval powers are asserting freedom of navigation. They (foreign navies) are enforcing it for us…even as we speak it (ruling) is being enforced at its core – the ruling that there is no nine-dash line, it has no legal effect and we have high seas and EEZs (exclusive economic zones) in the South China Sea,” Carpio said.

Last week, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said “no power on earth” can enforce the ruling. The pronouncement was made on the day Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived for a two-day state visit during which the Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding for joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.