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SC justice: China’s claim on West Phl Sea violates UNCLOS

Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio believes the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) will rule in favor of the Philippine challenge to China’s claim to almost the entire West Philippine Sea.

Speaking to reporters, Carpio yesterday said China’s claim violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“This is one of the cases to be brought before the international tribunal because it will test the very existence of UNCLOS,” he said.

“A nation is claiming an entire sea. It has not happened before. It happened in the 17th century but not after the law of the sea was established.

“This is the first time that the 9-dash claim is being challenged in an international tribunal. If we win, that means UNCLOS is the law to be followed and that China has no right to claim the waters under the 9-dash line map.”

Following a speech on the rule of law in the West Philippine Sea dispute before the Philippine Bar Association in Makati, Carpio said the Philippines can use a favorable decision to gather support from the international community against China.

“The ruling will be very clear,” he said.

“We will use that to convince the world. And the world will help us convince the Chinese people. And if the Chinese people will understand that the South China Sea does not belong to them, then it would be easier for their government to comply with the decision.

“Any litigation involves some risks. But we are confident of our position. This will favor everybody whose claim is being encroached by the nine-dash claim of China.”

Carpio said ITLOS will take about two years to finish and render a ruling.

China is ignoring the proceedings but is being constantly notified by the tribunal, he added.

Carpio said China’s 9-dash line claim takes away the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea beyond 30 to 50  nautical miles from the baselines of the Philippines.    

“That deprives the Philippines of 80 percent of its exclusive economic zone, and 100 percent of its extended continental shelf, in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

The Philippines ratified the UNCLOS in 1984, while China signed it in 1996.

A total of 165 coastal and landlocked states have signed the international agreement.

China created its 9-dash line claim in 1948 and continues to use it as a basis for its maritime claims.

CARPIO CHINA CLAIM INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL LAW OF THE SEA PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION SEA SOUTH CHINA SEA SUPREME COURT SENIOR ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ANTONIO CARPIO WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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