China Continues to Claim Disputed Sea as Its Own Territories

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Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes warned that China would continue to press for their claims over the West Philippine Sea even if it eventually lost the case just to save.

This lead presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe on November 1 to say, “This ruling is a significant step toward a peaceful resolution. We should all be proud of this victory. This just goes to show that we are capable of standing up for our territory, our nation and our rights.”

The senator said she would pursue legal and diplomatic means to protect Philippine territory without putting in peril economic and trade relations with China. Poe said they will continue to uphold the rule of law and pursue legal and diplomatic avenues to protect and assert the country’s rightful claim to the West Philippine Sea.

She vowed to enact an updated and relevant National Security Act to protect and strengthen Philippine Defense agencies. The Philippines formally sought international arbitration in January 2013 amid continued incursions by China and after nearly two decades of bilateral talks.

The decision which mandates the establishment of the court’s immediate jurisdiction over the cases filed by the Philippine government against China, Poe said, brings the parties one step closer to resolving claims on the disputed West Philippine Sea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration declared that it is within its mandate to decide over seven out of the 15 issues raised by the Philippines, including the move to invalidate China’s nine-dash lines, and has set hearings for the presentation of the merits of the case. The Tribunal also clarified that China’s refusal to participate in the proceedings does not deprive them of jurisdiction. It said the decision was “unanimous and concerns only whether the Tribunal has jurisdiction to consider the Philippines’ claims and whether such claims are admissible. Whether the Tribunal would have jurisdiction to address Chinese activities in the South China Sea may depend upon the Tribunal’s decision on whether any of the maritime features claimed by China are islands capable of generating maritime zones overlapping those of the Philippines.” The Tribunal also noted that “the location of certain activities and the Convention’s exception for military activities may affect its jurisdiction over certain of the Philippines’ claims.”

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