Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Oral arguments on the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea began in The Hague in The Netherlands Tuesday evening (July 7, PH time).
At the Peace Palace, a team of high-level Philippine officials buckled down to argue its case.
Beijing will not be there, but it has managed to shoot an arrow straight into the heart of Manila’s arbitration case.
Because international law measures maritime entitlements from land, Beijing — through a position paper — held that the issue was ultimately about territory.
That would would make the issue a question of sovereignty — which the arbitral tribunal cannot decide on.
Chito Sta. Romana, former ABC News Beijing bureau chief, noted earlier on Tuesday that, even if the Chinese were not participating in the proceedings, their presence would be felt like the elephant in the room.