Filipinos should welcome European powers' challenge to China — Carpio
In this January 2019 photo, UK Royal Navy warship HMS Argyll takes part in a replenishment at sea with the USS McCampbell and USNS Henry J Kaiser whilst operating in the South China Sea.
UK Royal Navy
Filipinos should welcome European powers' challenge to China — Carpio
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - September 18, 2020 - 12:36am

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino people should be thankful to France, Germany and the United Kingdom for challenging the legality of China's maritime claims in the South China Sea, retired Senior Associate Justice Carpio said Friday.

The three European powers recently submitted a joint note verbale to the United Nations, which highlighted that Beijing's claims of "historic rights" over the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea, do not comply with international law and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provisions.

France, Germany and the UK cited the July 2016 arbitral award in the Philippines' versus China case, which invalidated Beijing's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

"The Joint Note Verbale rejects the straight baselines drawn by China around the Paracels as contrary to UNCLOS. This serves as a warning to China that it cannot draw straight baselines around distant offshore islands or archipelagos since China is not an archipelagic state," Carpio said in a statement.

Carpio, part of the Philippine delegation in the South China Sea arbitration, also pointed out that the joint note verbale asserts the rights to innocent passage and to freedom of navigation and overflight in the contested waterway in accordance with UNCLOS.

"The Filipino people should welcome the naval powers that exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China since such exercises affirm that there are high seas, and exclusive economic zones of coastal states, in the South China Sea, effectively debunking China’s claims to historic rights to the South China Sea," Carpio added.

Carpio noted that the joint note verbale of the three European powers came after the United States and Australia released similar statements of support to the Philippines' arbitral victory.

In the note verbale submitted September 16, France, Germany and the UK asserted that all maritime claims in the South China Sea should be made and peacefully resolved in accordance with the UNCLOS.

The three countries also stressed that their joint note verbale reflects their long-standing legal positions on the South China Sea dispute.

"As State Parties to UNCLOS, France, Germany and the United Kingdom will continue to uphold and assert their rights and freedoms as enshrined in UNCLOS and to contribute to promoting cooperation in the region as set out under the Convention read," the note verbale read.

Meanwhile, China and Southeast Asian nations have resumed its consultations on a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said the COVID-19 crisis had caused delays in the process but also blamed a non-regional country, presumably the US, for interfering in the maritime disputes.

"Apart from the difficulties caused by the pandemic, certain country outside the region is bent on interfering in the disputes of the South China Sea and the COC consultations to serve its own geopolitical agenda," the Chinese Embassy said.

ANTONIO CARPIO CHINA FONOPS FRANCE GERMANY SOUTH CHINA SEA UNITED KINGDOM WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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