Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed Philippine arbitral win as rubbish

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Philippine win over China in the arbitration case involving the West Philippine Sea, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian declared it as rubbish. In a decision handed down on 12 July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled in favor of the Philippines in the dispute between the two countries over the West Philippine Sea. China has made a sweeping and baseless claim of ownership over the entire South China Sea through its so-called nine-dash line, disregarding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which China is a signatory. The PCA invalidated the nine-dash line in its ruling.

The South China Sea is bounded by the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. According to the UNCLOS, each of these countries have exclusive economic zones (EEZ) 200 nautical miles from their shores, and region outside the EEZ are considered international waters where freedom of navigation can be exercised by any country. China, on the other hand, wants to have the region exclusively for itself in a greedy grab and expansionist policy. China shares borders with 14 countries, but in fact has border dispute with 18.

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, said that the statement of the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson is not unexpected because governments are expected to advance the interests of their own countries. Thus, Mr. Lijian is expected to advance the interests of China. The Vice President added, however, that one can only hope that the Philippine government will also do the same. The Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte parrots the China narrative. In fact, Duterte himself has declared the PCA ruling as rubbish. In a statement, the Vice President said that “if only we can remember, if only we can unite, if only we can rediscover our spirit and once again stand for what is right— we will find, beneath the rubble of cowardice and neglect, our courage, our dignity, and our national pride.”


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