PH to China: Face ‘wrath or displeasure’ over sea row

MANILA  – China risks facing the “wrath or displeasure of the international legal community” if it refuses to abide by a decision of the United Nations (UN) international tribunal on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) maritime dispute.

“We go by the rule of law [and] we invoke the rule of law, if China does not obey, hopefully a decision in our favor, that will be a loss for China,” Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said in a forum in the University of the Philippines (UP) Thursday.

“China will have to face the wrath or displeasure of international legal community,” he said.

Jardeleza is the head of the Philippine panel to the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration where the Philippines has a pending case against China’s indisputable claim over the entire South China Sea.

He said that their case asks for the UN Arbitration Court to declare as invalid China’s nine-dash line claim that covers more than 80 percent of the South China Sea including parts of the Philippines 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“You need to have land before you can have rights to the sea. It’s as simple as that. You cannot just have rights to the sea without owning land,” Jardeleza said, citing the basic principle of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that was ratified by both Philippines and China.

“We are here to prove that from the point of view of the rule of law, all of the actions and all of the claims of China are not consistent with the UNCLOS and therefore they are invalid,” Jardeleza said.

The Philippines is set to submit its written arguments to the tribunal by March 30, 2014.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings.