Friday, October 30, 2015

Will a court in outer space ready to intervene in PH-China territorial sea row?

It feels so insulting and demeaning that China continues to ignore the pronouncement of the Permanent Court on Arbitration based in The Hague that it has legal jurisdiction over the territorial row between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.

An island reclaimed by China.

After reading the news reports, all that China could utter is that it doesn't recognize the arbitral tribunal's declaration concerning its right to hear the complaint filed by the Philippines against China. However, China hasn't mentioned any valid statement that would give any suggestion as to which international body or court should have the right to hear the case? Over and over again, China keeps on repeating like a broken record that it wouldn't abide by the tribunal's decision to recognize the merits of the case on the territorial disputes because it believes that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear such complaint.

China, for that matter, didn't even offer a suggestion that would UNCLOS  the right to hear the territorial tussle. Now, the question that lingers upon the minds of the curious public is: Which international court or body has the legal jurisdiction to hear the complaint filed by the Philippines against China? As far as I'm concerned, it would be impractical and absurd if an international court from outer space will hear such case? For me, it would be certainly be too expensive for litigants to go to Mars or other planets in the universe.

I'd would appreciate it if China can mention to the public the appropriate international body that has jurisdiction over the territorial row in the South China Sea. If China won't heed the call, it means that it's a political tactic that continues to make a real mockery of the issue at hand. And surely, it is only employing a delaying mechanism that would allow it further to install more illegal structures and military garrisons in some of the islands that are within the territorial waters of the West Philippine Sea, and other areas being claimed by other ASEAN-member countries.

What makes the South China Sea so important to foreign commercial ships plying the route to deliver their goods to importers? Freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been hampered for many decades. And free flow of goods in and out of this vast ocean has significantly enhanced international trade without experiencing any problem at all. If China is really serious at all that what it is doing right now, like building lighthouses, is to help guide international ships get safely to their routes, all it has to do is issue an timely pronouncement for the world to know in advance. But it hasn't done anything to pacify the doubts that linger in the minds of the public. Otherwise, China has other sinister motives to reclaim most parts of the South China Sea to its own advantage.

The world knows that China is a member of the United Nations. If this economic giant continues to behave like an ignored baby, perhaps, what the U.N. could do is to issue sanctions against China, if only to give the country some serious lessons to learn.

On the part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), all they could do is to boycott all Chinese-made products in the markets. Asean customs bureaus must make sure that no Chinese goods reach their ports. It is public knowledge that electronics and other telecommunications gadgets are made or assembled in China. And these gadgets end up in most markets of the developing world where it would be much easier for China to manipulate the needs for spare parts.

While the world awaits the real outcome of this controversy, China has already issued a warning that it is ready to face head-on any outsider meddling in its sovereignty.

Recently, the U.S. navy has sent some of its warships close to one of the disputed islands being reclaimed by China. Consequently, the move didn't bode well with China, which the latter considered a brazen act to ignite a war.







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