UNCLOS explained: Why China’s claims in South China Sea are invalid

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MANILA, Philippines — With a little over a month before the Philippines submits its written arguments to the international Permanent Court of Arbitration, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza publicly spoke for the first time about the basis of the Philippines’ case against China’s claim to nearly the entire South China/West Philippine Sea.

“You need to have land before you can have rights to the sea. It’s as simple as that.You cannot just have rights to the sea without owning land,” Jardeleza said in a forum in the University of the Philippines (UP) law center, citing the basic principle of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China, in 2009, submitted to the UN its “nine-dash line” claim that covers the entire South China Sea, including parts of the Philippines’ western seaboard from the provinces of Ilocos Norte up to Palawan.

China’s claim, however, has been repeatedly called invalid and not in accordance with UNCLOS, which the Philippines ratified in 1986 and China in 1996.

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