THE Philippines on Thursday, August 31, 2023, urged China to act responsibly and abide by its obligations under international laws as the former rejected the 2023 version of the latter's standard map, which includes the nine-dash line (now a ten-dashed line) or most parts of the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said China’s latest attempt to legitimize its purported sovereignty and jurisdiction over the country’s features and maritime zones has no basis under international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
“The 2016 Arbitral Award invalidated the nine-dashed line. It categorically stated that maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the 'nine-dash line' are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China's maritime entitlements under the Convention,” the DFA said.
The image of China’s 2023 Standard Map was released by its Ministry of Natural Resources on August 28.
It now includes parts of Taiwan and the majority of the WPS, including the entire Spratly Islands, which covers the Kalayaan Island Group.
In a press briefing, DFA Assistant Secretary for Association of the Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Affairs Daniel Espiritu said the Philippine will make a statement on China’s behavior in the WPS (South China Sea) during the 43rd Asean Summit, which will be attended by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and his counterparts from the region including Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei which also has disputes on the South China Sea.
During a press briefing, Daniel Espiritu, DFA assistant secretary for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Affairs, said that the Philippines will make a statement on China's behavior in the WPS (South China Sea) during the 43rd Asean Summit.
The summit will be attended by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and his counterparts from the region, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, all of which also have disputes in the South China Sea.
Espiritu said the completion of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea “will take a little bit longer” due to the varying national interests of claimant nations.
During the 42nd Asean Summit in May, Marcos pushed for the finalization of the new COC in a bid to ease the tension in the disputed waters.
The Philippines challenged China’s “nine-dash line,” which is over 90 percent of the WPS.
In its 2016 ruling, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands affirmed the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the areas being claimed by China.
China rejected the ruling, saying that the Arbitral Tribunal did not have jurisdiction in the case and maintained ownership of the territory.
The release of China’s 2023 Standard Map came following a series of harassment of Chinese vessels against Philippine ships sailing in the WPS, particularly those involved in the resupply mission for troops deployed in the BRP Sierra Madre.
BRP Sierra Madre was deliberately grounded in the Ayungin Shoal in 1991 to signify the country’s sovereignty and territorial rights in the area, which is being claimed by China. (SunStar Philippines)