Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Manila is on a mission impossible

By Wang Hui (China Daily) Updated: 2013-07-29 09:08

In his state of the nation address delivered on July 22, Philippine President Benigno Aquino avoided the territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea, a move perceived by some as showing "good judgment". But Aquino's sidestepping of the South China Sea dispute should not lure others into believing that the Philippines is keen on ratcheting down the tensions.

Actions speak louder than words. In January, Manila drummed up an attempt to seek an international arbitration tribunal verdict on the disputed territories. This is just another of the tricks Manila has been playing in recent years to try and claim for itself Chinese islands and islets in the South China Sea.

To build up the momentum for such an ill-advised quest, Manila has seized every opportunity to play up the issue of international arbitration, disregarding China's opposition and the regional consensus to resolve the South China Sea disputes at the bilateral level. Last week, the spokesman for the Philippine department of foreign affairs even said that it is now impossible for the country to continue bilateral discussions with China over the dispute and the country is seeking international arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas.

Manila's wishful thinking is that by evoking UNCLOS, to which both Beijing and Manila are a signatory nation, there might be a chance that the international court will support its ill-grounded maritime territorial claims, which will muddle the waters and taint China's image in the world arena.

However, its new farce is doomed to failure, as it does not have a legal basis for its claim.

True, under Annex VII of UNCLOS, countries with disputes over maritime territories could seek international arbitration. But, is UNCLOS applicable to the dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea? A delve into the UN convention will tell us that the answer is probably not.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News
New type of urbanization is in the details