World / Opinion

Violation of international laws

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-04 08:14

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.

The Philippines has attempted to unilaterally force arbitration on its South China Sea dispute with China, but China stands on a solid legal ground in refusing to accept or participate in the arbitration, says a Xinhua commentary.

The Philippines' filing for arbitration is an abuse of law procedures. As is clearly stipulated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the precondition for the application of arbitration procedures is the principle of consent, a basic principle of international law.

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, it refuses to accept any jurisdiction of international justice or arbitration.

No matter what kind of package it has made, the arbitration raised by the Philippines is in essence a dispute concerning the sovereignty over the islands and reefs and demarcation over certain waters in the South China Sea.

Therefore, by ignoring China's 2006 declaration and taking the South China Sea disputes related to the sovereignty of islands and reefs and maritime demarcation to international arbitration, the Philippines has made the arbitration procedure illegal from the start.

Also, in 2002, the nations involved, including the Philippines, pledged to solve their South China Sea disputes through negotiations in the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, and that declaration excludes the application of any other procedures, including arbitration.

So clearly any arbitration by a third party goes against international laws and the DOC.

Both the UN Charter and UNCLOS encourage nations to first solve their disputes through negotiations. And 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.

However, the Philippines has turned a blind eye to China's goodwill and restraint, and is reaching for a yard after taking an inch.

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