The Philippines will face more questions on its arbitration case against China after the tribunal handling the case chose to hold a second round of arguments on whether it has jurisdiction on the case at all.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, a member of a high-level Philippine delegation in the Netherlands, said on early Friday evening (July 10) that the five-man Tribunal has instructed the Philippine team to prepare for a second round of presentation to be scheduled on July 13.
“The so-called nine dash line (based on an old map used by China) has no basis whatsoever under worldwide law”, he said.
The Philippines has appealed to an global tribunal to declare China’s claims to most of the South China Sea illegal, warning the integrity of UN’s maritime laws is at stake.
For the past two days, the Philippines has been presenting arguments before the tribunal’s members in the Hague on why they should exercise jurisdiction over Manila’s arbitration case against Beijing.
At the start of the hearing last Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario explained that the Philippines had sought judicial intervention because China’s behavior had become increasingly “aggressive” and negotiations had proved futile.
Next to Del Rosario were Paul Reichler – chief counsel for the Philippines – who presented the justification for the Tribunal’s jurisdiction over the case and Prof.
China also refused to recognize the worldwide court as the right venue for the issue and has refused to participate in the proceedings. Philippe Sands who said that the Manila did not raise questions of sovereignty over land or about maritime delimitation.
According to Recto, the activities of China in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea would eventually kill the local fishing industry, which sources the bulk of its catch in the disputed waters. It’s a formula for starvation.
Recto said that annual per capita consumption of fish and marine products in the Philippines is about 36 kilos.
Of the 4.705 million metric tons of fish harvested in 2013, Recto pointed out that commercial fishers contributed 1.067 million MT, while municipal fishermen added 1.264 million MT. The rest, or 2.374 million MT, was raised through aquaculture.
However the Philippines hopes a ruling in its favour will pressure China into making concessions. “The West Philippine Sea is part of the Coral Triangle, one of richest fishing grounds in the world so who would not be attracted to it?” he said.