Spratlys part of Philippines in 1900 pact -- AUTHOR DOESN'T WANT TO PUBLISH HIS ARTICLE ONLINE
Joseph Lariosa (The Philippine Star) - November 1, 2015 - 9:00am

CHICAGO – A little-known Washington Treaty of 1900 that amended the 1898 Treaty of Paris will be among the documents the Philippine government will present at the hearing of the arbitral tribunal in The Hague on Nov. 23.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia revealed Friday that the Washington Treaty included the Spratly Islands as part of the Philippines after it was discovered that the map under the Treaty of Paris had left out the disputed islands.

If this treaty is confirmed, the United States will lose its neutrality in the South China Sea dispute between the Philippines and China because it was a signatory to the Washington Treaty, Cuisia pointed out.

Under the Treaty of Paris on Dec. 10, 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20 million.

The treaty made the Philippines a territory of the US following the defeat of Spain. On July 4, 1946, in the ashes of World War II, the US granted the Philippines independence.

Last Thursday, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled it had jurisdiction over the case brought against China by the Philippines, which wants the tribunal to define the country’s maritime entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Both the Philippines and China have both ratified, should be used to resolve the maritime dispute over isolated reefs and islets in the South China Sea.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings, arguing the case is about sovereignty in which the court has no jurisdiction.

“The decision was unanimous in favor of the Philippines,” Cuisia told the Filipino community members here during the 12th Pagkikita sa Konsulado (12th Meeting at the Philippine Consulate).

Cuisia said the decision was a clear victory for the Philippine government officials led Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario during the hearing at The Hague.

According to Cuisia, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had invoked the Washington Treaty of 1900 as one of the pieces of evidence in arguing for the arbitral tribunal to assume jurisdiction of the case.

He described Carpio’s research on the matter as the “most comprehensive research on the issue.”

During the forum, Cuisia debunked the claims of China that the Philippines never settled the issue bilaterally.

He said that at every start of the 15 meetings held with Chinese officials, they would repeatedly assert China’s “indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea.”

Cuisia said every such meeting with Chinese officials would only last less than five minutes each time.

Cuisia also believes the US can no longer return to the Philippines even with a “basing” agreement but on a “rotating” setup under the Visiting Forces Agreement or under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

He added the Philippines can never be beholden to China either although Beijing is Manila’s largest trading partner in 2014.

“We are not a debtor to China,” Cuisia said.


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