THE Philippines will again embark on a historic task as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) set the oral hearing for the arbitration case against China from November 24 to 30.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that the oral hearings for the merits of the case will begin later this month at The Hague, the Netherlands.
The PCA earlier ruled that it has jurisdiction on the case filed by Manila, which seeks to invalidate China's nine-dash line claim, as well as to define the maritime entitlements in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The case was filed before the United Nations-backed International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (Itlos) under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which provides arbitration as a mode to settle maritime disputes.
Manila filed the case in January 2013 amid mounting tensions in the region because of China's aggressive island-building activities there.
The West Philippine Sea is claimed in whole by China, and in part by the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.
Apart from being a rich fishing ground with gas reserves and minerals, the region is also home to $5 trillion worth of sea-borne trade every year. (CVB/Sunnex)