PHL refutes China: You started it

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Friday, April 4, 2014


AFTER the Philippines' submission of its memorial to the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal, the word war continues between Manila and Beijing over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

This developed after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) refuted the Chinese Foreign Ministry claim that the Philippines is provoking trouble in the region by filing its memorial (written argument) to the UN body.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario rejected claims of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei that the Philippines is out to "create trouble in the South China Sea."

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"The Philippines makes clear that it will continue to exercise self-restraint and will not raise tension in the South China Sea. The Philippines is not the country that has greatly increased its naval and maritime presence in the South China Sea. Nor has it challenged freedom of navigation. Nor has it blockaded nor forcefully intimidated any other country in the South China Sea," said del Rosario.

"Countries should be judged by their actions, not by their words," he added.

To recall, several protests, through note verbale, have been raised by the Philippines against China over various incidents involving Chinese government vessels and their Philippine counterparts.

The latest incident involved the Chinese coast guard trying to block a Philippine vessel that was set to deliver food, water and fresh troops to the Second Thomas Shoal.

On the contrary, the DFA chief said the actions undertaken by the Philippines by bringing the case to the UN tribunal is anything but trouble-seeking.

"We reiterate that arbitration is a peaceful, friendly and a durable settlement mechanism under international law… By going to arbitration, the Philippines has signaled its fidelity to international law," said del Rosario.

Last Sunday, the Philippines submitted its memorial to the UN tribunal bearing the evidences and claims it has against China.

Through the case, the Philippines is seeking clarification of China's claim of indisputable sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea on the basis of the "nine-dash line."

The Philippines believes the "nine-dash line" is an excessive and expansive claim by China and is in gross violation of international law.

China reiterated its refusal to participate in the UN proceedings and instead accused the Philippines of creating trouble in the region through the case. (HDT/Sunnex)

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