Cong. Roilo Golez delivered a privilege speech to strongly support this. The Philippines has taken China to a United Nations arbitration tribunal to challenge Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea (which the Philippines refers to as the West Philippine Sea) and compel it to respect the Philippines’ right to its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and stop Chinese incursions into areas in the disputed waters claimed by the Philippines. The Philippines initiated the compulsory proceedings against China as provided for under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), and asked the UN to declare the Chinese “nine-dash line” outlining its claim to most of the South China Sea, including waters and islands close to its neighbors, as invalid and illegal.
It demands that China “desist from unlawful activities that violate the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines under the 1982 Unclos.”
“The Philippines has taken the step of bringing China before the Arbitral Tribunal… in order to achieve a peaceful and durable solution to the dispute over the West Philippine Sea,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told a press briefing Tuesday. “The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime dispute with China… we hope that the arbitral proceedings shall bring this dispute to a durable solution,” he said. Del Rosario did not take questions. The Department of Foreign Affairs instead issued a question-and-answer statement to reporters.
Allies not involved
The DFA said the move was a decision of the Philippines alone. It said its major allies, the United States and Japan, had nothing to do with the legal action. It said the action was “in defense of our national territory and maritime domain.” In a “notification and statement of claim” filed before the UN, the Philippine government said the arbitration was not seeking to declare who owns which islands in the disputed waters. “The Philippines does not seek in this arbitration a determination of which party enjoys sovereignty over the islands claimed by both of them. Nor does it request a delimitation of any maritime boundaries,” the government said. In its submission, the Philippines asked the UN to compel China to respect the Philippines’ rights to exclusively explore and exploit resources within its EEZ and continental shelf as declared under Unclos, citing recent Chinese actions that constituted an excessive exercise of sovereignty over disputed territories. It asked the UN to declare that the Philippines is entitled, as provided for by Unclos, to “12 nautical miles of territorial sea, 200 nautical miles of EEZ and established boundaries of its continental shelf from the baselines.”