Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio at PPI June 23, 2016.

Ways to make China comply if U.N. ruling on SCS favors PH

The Philippines is not exactly helpless if the United Nations Arbitral Court decides in our favor in the case we filed against China and China ignores it.

The Hague-based U.N. Artbitral Court is expected to decide on the case on July 7.

In Jan. 2013, the Philippine asked the U.N. court to

  1. declare as illegal China’s all encompassing nine-dash line map;
  2. declare as part of Philippine 350 nautical mile continental shelf low tide elevations (rocks or shoals that are seen only during low tide) where China has built permanent structures;
  3. declare that the waters outside the 12 nautical miles surrounding the Panatag Island (Scarborough shoal) should be declared as part of the Philippines 200 natutical mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

China refused to participate in the Arbitral Court proceedings and has said many times that it will not adhere to whatever ruling the Court hands down.

In his lecture before members of the Philippine Press Institute yesterday at the Century Park Hotel, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio said, “there is no world policeman to enforce the rule” but the following can happen:

  1. The world’s naval powers which consider freedom of navigation and over flight their national interest have declared they will sail and fly in the high seas and the Economic Exclusive Zones of the South China Sea.

Carpio expects the United States, which insists on freedom of navigation in the maritime waters where some $5.3 trillion pass through annually, to “really wave the UN ruling.”

France’s Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called for “regular and visible” European patrols in the South China Sea during the recent Shangrila Dialogue in Singapore.

2. If the China National Offshore Oil Corporation lifts the oil and gas in the Reed Bank, the Philippines can sue the CNOOC in countries where the CNOOC has assets like Canada and the U.S.

3. China has secured four permits from the International Seabed Authority to explore the seabed, and has two pending applications. The Philippines can ask ISA to suspend the four permits and the processing of the two pending applications using the ruling.

4. The Philippines can also ask the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to suspend the processing of China’s extended CS claims until China complies with the ruling.

That’s why it is doubtful that China would withdraw from the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea over an adverse ruling on the case filed by the Philippines because if they are not part of UNCLOS they would not be able to explore the seabed.

Carpio said the Philippines would just have to be creative.Carpio proposed to suspend for 100 years any claim in the South China Sea and declare the area a Marine Protected Area and allow the reefs to recover. No military facilities. Only Coast Guards would be allowed, to protect the resource rich area.

Whoever opposes this brilliant idea does not love his people and does not care about the future of his children.


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