Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why can't China accept international arbitration?

That's a big question that plays in the minds of most democratic-loving people worldwide.

Map shows location of Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands. 
According to the China's foreign ministry, the Philippines' filing of a complaint before ITLOS was tantamount to stealing its territories. If China is really the legitimate owner of some, if not all, the islands in the South China Sea, how come it didn't raise a howl when the UNCLOS was created? Wasn't China aware of the consequences as soon as the UNCLOS was created? In fact, it was clear from the beginning that a particular country has the right to own up islands that are within its 250 EEZ limits. Yet, China has kept mum on the issue until the Philippines decided to put a demarcation which eventually created the West Philippine Sea.

Even as this article is being written, Chinese Coast Guards had been intimidating smaller Philippine ships that went to Ayungin Shoal to bring food rations to some soldiers who were stationed a shipwreck, courtesy of the United States government. The dilapidated ship has remained the sanctuary of Filipino soldiers who were stationed there to assert the Philippine government's claim to the islands in the West Philippine Sea. After a long chase in the open seas, the Filipino contingents, including several journalists, were able to elude the Chinese Coast Guards and had successfully brought food and replacements to the high-spirited soldiers.

As far as I'm concerned, China's actuations on this matter can be misconstrued as an antiquated assertion of its claim dating back many centuries ago. If indeed, most of the islands in the South China belonged to them, why can't China just allow claimant countries to hear the decision of ITLOS on the issue at hand? Instead, China has ventured into some kind of bullying tactics in order to intimidate weaker countries like the Philippines.

We are in the modern world right now. Gone were the days when a particular country could just claim any island or land that its citizens had discovered while on a foreign sea voyage. That's why the United Nations was created so that all member-countries will abide to its rules and regulations. Ironically, China doesn't want to observe proper international protocol. Hence, it defies to engage the claimant countries in a fair and just settlement over the disputed territories in the South China Sea.

If this happening right now, perhaps, China just want to show the world that it has the military might to protect its international interests regardless of whoever it may bump into. And if China does the unexpected, it's now up to the United Nations to make sanctions against China. At the moment, the world is watching
every move that the Chinese naval forces do in the South China Sea.

My only hope is that it would calm down its true senses and come to realize that international arbitration is the only recourse left to settle the territorial sea rowin the South China Sea. Otherwise, international shipping mobility could be hampered.

No comments: