Court tells China: Respond to Phl case in sea row by Dec 15
Court tells China: Respond to Phl case in sea row by Dec 15
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - June 4, 2014 - 9:47am

MANILA, Philippines — A tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has ordered China to submit its counter-argument in the case filed by the Philippines that seeks to resolve the South China Sea dispute.

"In Procedural Order No. 2, the Arbitral Tribunal fixes 15 December 2014 as the date for China to submit its Counter-Memorial responding to the Philippines’ Memorial," the PCA said in its website.

After seeking the views of both nations, the PCA said the tribunal will determine at a later stage the further course of the proceedings, including the need for, and scheduling of any other written submissions and hearings.

The PCA is an intergovernmental organization established by the 1899 Hague Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes.

Based in The Hague, the Netherlands, the PCA facilitates arbitration, conciliation, fact-finding and other dispute resolution proceedings among various combinations of States, State entities, intergovernmental organizations and private parties.

In 2013, The Philippines instituted arbitral proceedings against China under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea "with respect to the dispute with China over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)."

On March 30, the country submitted electronically to the arbitral tribunal a 4,000-page memorial or written argument against China's excessive territorial claims.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario had said that the memorial, consisting of 10 volumes, presents the Philippines' case on the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal and the merits of the country's claims.

It also contains the documentary evidence and maps that support the Philippines' claims.

Read: Phl submits papers vs China

The PCA said it received a Note Verbale from China on May 21, which reiterated the country's position that "it does not accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines."

It also said that the Note Verbale "shall not be regarded as China’s acceptance of or participation in the proceedings."

On Tuesday, Malacañang said the Philippines' arbitration case against China is part of its efforts to draw the attention of the global community to the sea disputes.

"We want to engage the active attention and participation of other countries that are signatories to that treaty. That is our way of calling the attention of the world," Presidential Communication Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing.

Coloma also welcomed recent remarks made by key allies such as the United States, Japan and Australia that supported the Philippines' "basic position" on the sea disputes.

"We are encouraged by the supportive statements of our allies and other countries on the importance of seeking peaceful settlement of disputes, which is precisely the course of action we have chosen to adopt," Coloma said.

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