Gov’t urged to seek UN intervention vs China’s West Philippine Sea actions

Helen Flores - Philstar.com
Gov�t urged to seek UN intervention vs China�s West Philippine Sea actions
This photo taken on February 15, 2024, shows an aerial view of Chinese vessel identified by the Philippine Coast Guard as “maritime militia” (upper C) , Philippine fishing boats and BRP Datu Tamblot (C) during a Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-led mission to bring supplies and assistance to the fishermen over Scarborough Shoal in the disputed South China Sea.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from the prospect of Northern Luzon getting embroiled in a potential armed confrontation between China and Taiwan, the Philippines also has to deal with another source of tension at sea – Beijing’s possible enforcement beginning June 15 of a “maritime regulation” detaining for 60 days without trial foreign “trespassers” in its territorial waters.

China considers almost the entire South China Sea its territorial waters.

With barely 24 hours left before the “regulation” takes effect, ACT-CIS partylist Rep. Erwin Tulfo said he is urging the government to ask the United Nations General Assembly to call on China – in a resolution – to stop its “unlawful actions” in the West Philippine Sea.

The call, he said, is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that invalidated China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.

Tulfo said the PCA’s landmark decision “conclusively invalidated the Chinese government’s expansive claims under the so-called ‘nine-dash line,’ declaring such to be incompatible with the provisions of the UNCLOS, thus upholding the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf” in the West Philippine Sea.

China has “steadfastly refused to acknowledge and comply with the arbitration award, persisting in its increasingly unlawful actions in the WPS” despite the ruling, Tulfo said.

“This year alone, aggressive maneuvers and water cannon attacks by Chinese vessels against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Filipino fisherfolk underscore China’s blatant disregard for international law and the legal maritime rights o the Philippines,” he added.

The resolution stated that China’s new regulation is “further exacerbating the already volatile situation and posting a direct challenge to well-settled international maritime laws and principles.”

“One of the diplomatic avenues available to the Philippines is to bring the issue before the UN,” the measure read.

It underscored that the UN “can significantly influence international norms and policies, providing a robust platform for the Philippines to assert its maritime rights and seek global support against unlawful actions by any state.” — Sheila Crisostomo, Delon Porcalla, Michael Punongbayan

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