World / Asia-Pacific

The Philippines' violation of international laws to end in vain

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-04 17:25

BEIJING - The Philippines took the dispute with China over the South China Sea to the international arbitration in January of 2013. On March 30, 2014, it submitted a so-called memorial to the arbitral tribunal. This erroneous practice of unilaterally trying to force arbitration has drawn the same criticism from experts of international laws and international issues.

According to the experts interviewed by reporters, China stands on a solid international legal base to refuse to accept or participate in the arbitration.

The Philippines should fully recognize how sensitive and complicated the South China Sea issue is, and return to the right track of resolving the dispute through consultations and negotiations, bringing no further harm to the bilateral ties between the two nations.

No matter what kind of package it has made, the nature of the issue can not be changed, as the arbitration raised by the Philippines is closely related to territorial sovereignty and maritime demarcation, said Jia Yu, deputy director of China Institute for Marine Affairs with the State Oceanic Administration.

Beginning from the 1970s, the Philippines illegally occupied islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands, including the Mahuan Dao, Feixin Dao, Zhongye Dao, Nanyao Dao, Beizi Dao, Xiyue Dao, Shuanghuang Shazhou and Siling Jiao. The Philippines' illegal occupation of these Chinese islands and reefs is the root cause of the South China Sea dispute between the two countries.

As early as in 2006, China submitted a written statement to the United Nations Secretariat, clearly declaring that, on issues of territorial sovereignty, marine demarcation, and military activities, China refuses to accept any jurisdiction of international justice or arbitration as stipulated by section 2 of part XV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention"). The arbitration raised by the Philippines is in essence dispute concerning the sovereignty over the islands and reefs and demarcation over certain waters in the South China Sea.

Jia stressed, with the larger picture of China-Philippines relations and interests of regional peace and stability in mind, China has consistently insisted on solving the issues of territorial sovereignty and maritime demarcation through bilateral negotiations; and solving the disputes of territorial and maritime rights by negotiations under international law while respecting the historical facts.

Either the UN Charter or the Convention acknowledges the independent arrangements of the countries concerned, and encourages nations concerned to first solve their disputes through negotiations. The Philippines turns a blind eye to China's goodwill and restraint, reaches out for a yard after taking an inch, and sues the victim before itself is prosecuted, trying to dragging China to international arbitration by disguising the disputes and applying for the procedure of arbitration under the Annex VII of the Convention. This shows its disregard for and provocation of China's sovereignty.

The Philippines' filing of arbitration is an abuse of law procedures, said Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. As is clearly stipulated by the Convention, the precondition of the application of arbitration procedures is the principle of consent of nation, a basic principle of international law. The consent of a nation is expressed in two aspects.

The first is having reservation to make refusal of arbitration on disputes in certain areas according to the Convention. In 2006, the Chinese government made a declaration refusing arbitrations regarding such matters as those related to territory sovereignty and maritime demarcation from dispute settlement procedures under any international laws and arbitration.

The Philippines ignores the declaration and takes the disputes related to territory sovereignty of islands and reefs and maritime demarcation to international arbitration, making the arbitration procedure illegal from the start.

The second is the prior agreement by countries as solution to disputes. In 2002, nations including China and the Philippines pledged to solve the South China Sea dispute through negotiations in the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, and the declaration has excluded application of any other procedures including arbitration.

From this, the arbitration unilaterally pushed by the Philippines does not meet regulations of the Convention. Any arbitration by a third party is acts going against the Convention and international laws.

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