UN Arbitral Panel Rules in Favor of the Philippines
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario’s dogged determination to pursue the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea dispute through the rule of law has proven his approach correct. The court ruled the case was “properly constituted” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, that China’s “non-appearance” (i.e., refusal to participate) did not preclude the court’s jurisdiction, and that the Philippines was within its rights in filing the case.
In the period before the ruling, there was a lot of pressure on the Secretary to dial down his stance and seek accommodation with China. While China has insisted on resolving the issue on a bilateral basis, the Secretary has maintained this would leave us at a disadvantage and that in the instances where we tried to open dialogue, China has been unresponsive. That said, now that our hand has been strengthened, the argument in favor of the merits of seeking a peaceful, managed resolution has I think become even more persuasive. However, the responsibility of how to respond to this challenge will now have to be made by the incoming administration. Details