Gazmin: Sea row arbitration to proceed-A A +A
Friday, February 22, 2013
DEFENSE Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Friday China’s rejection of the Philippines’ plan to bring the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea to the United Nations has no effect on the arbitration process.
“Whether they reject it or not, the case will proceed even if they do not participate,” Gazmin told reporters.
On Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing informed them regarding her country’s rejection of the Philippine position.
“Well, the natural reaction is why they are against facing the court?" said Gazmin.
According to Ma, China reiterated that it has indisputable sovereignty over the entire sea under its nine-dash line claim.
In a statement, Japan joined the Philippines in seeking for a solution to the dispute before an international tribunal.
"The Philippines and Japan stressed that the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea issue should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)," said a statement issued by the DFA after a dialogue between two countries on maritime safety and security in Pasay City.
Japan also has an overlapping claim with China on some islands in the East China Sea.
The Spratlys, a chain of islands and islets believed to be rich in oil and minerals deposits, is being claimed by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam.
The Philippines and China are also locked in a territorial dispute over Scarborough Shoal off Zambales. A standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships broke out in the area last year and three Chinese ships remain at the vicinity. (VR/SDR/Sunnex)