Time for Manila to end farce of arbitration on South China Sea
Updated: 2015-07-17 15:39
BEIJING -- Manila's attempt to seek international arbitration over its territorial spats with China in the South China Sea is futile and doomed to fail as the case itself is untenable.
The Philippines filed an arbitration case at The Hague in early 2013 and the hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility was concluded on Monday.
However, the unilateral move employed by Manila as a clumsy tactic to encroach on the Chinese territory in the South China Sea, is no more than a pipe dream.
It is obvious that Manila has pinned its hope on the international and multilateral forces to woo sympathy for its groundless claim over the South China Sea.
While the stock-in-trade of the country is to portray itself as a victim and put pressure on China by hyping up the dispute at the international tribunal.
This time, the Philippines sent a 35-man entourage to The Hague with only three of them needed to argue the case. Without any dissimulation, the authorities said that the huge delegation was a "show of force" to "impress the arbiters" that the nation is united behind the country's case against China.
However, although they sent more people to The Hague in an attempt to sway the arbiters, Manila's efforts will fail to produce any results as they expected.
As a matter of fact, China is the real victim of the South China Sea disputes as the Philippines has illegally occupied Chinese territories there since the 1970s. In order to safeguard regional peace and stability, China has remained highly restrained.
Regarding the territorial sovereignty, China has abundant historical and legal evidence to prove them, while its maritime rights to the waters enclosed within the nine-dash lines in the South China Sea are also upheld by history.
As for the arbitration, the essence of the subject-matter of the case is the territorial sovereignty over several maritime features in the South China Sea, which is beyond the scope of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea under which Manila initiated the arbitration.
Besides, any arbitration must be based on the principle of consent. In bilateral disputes, if one party does not accept or participate in the arbitration, the other party shall not institute the arbitration against its will.
China has reiterated that it will neither accept nor participate in the arbitration, and elaborates at length on the legal basis for its position that the arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction over this case.
Manila's unilateral move will not help solve the disputes. Instead, it will poison its relationship with China. Meanwhile, hyping the arbitration and spending big money on lobbying foreign arbiters will also stir domestic criticism back home.
Thus, it is time for the Philippines to stop the farce of arbitration on the South China Sea issue and return as soon as possible to the right track of bilateral talks for a final solution acceptable to both countries.