On China’s intransigent refusal to recognize UNCLOS decision
The Party denounces China’s persistent refusal to recognize the 2016 decision of the International Arbitrary Tribunal (IAT) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
By refusing to recognize the 2016 decision, China is acting like a big bully who does not know how to play by the rules, especially when the rules do not favor its strategic economic and military interests.
The 2016 decision recognizes Philippine sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone, rejects China’s claims of all-encompassing sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, and orders it to remunerate the Philippines for damages as a result of the construction of artificial islands and military facilities in at least seven land and sea formations within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
In a statement yesterday, China rejected the statement of Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin upholding the 2016 decision and asserting that it is non-negotiable and will not be compromised. The Party positively notes Locsin’s position which, however, is inconsistent with that taken by his boss Duterte who at the outset has set aside the ruling in the name of improving relations with China.
For four years, the regime has failed to defend Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea against China’s transgressions and has practically thrown the 2016 IAT decision into a waste basket.
In exchange for promised loans, political support and personal favors, Duterte has allowed China to lord it over the West Philippine Sea, deploy Coast Guard and paramilitary vessels, make unlawful claims of sovereignty within the country’s territorial seas, prevent Filipinos from fishing in their own seas and plunder Philippine marine and mineral resources. Duterte has also offered to enter into a lopsided agreement with China to explore and exploit oil resources in the West Philippine Sea which would give China full control of operations and profits.
As we mark the fourth year of the IAT decision, the Party joins the Filipino people in demanding China to withdraw its swarm of military and paramilitary vessels from the West Philippine Sea, dismantle its military facilities built within the scope of Philippine territorial seas, and pay for the damages on Philippine marine resources.
The Party calls on the Philippine’s Southeast Asian neighbors whose sovereignties are also being trampled by China to forge a united front to stand up against Chinese military agression and generate international support to compel China to recognize the IAT decision, respect the territorial seas of all countries and stop its military aggression.