No euphoria in the favorable decision of China-Philippines arbitration

 

south china sea“The award is a complete and total victory for the Philippines … a victory for international law and international relations,” said Paul Reichler, lead lawyer for the Philippines.

The lawyer is of course talking about the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)  in The Hague favoring the Philippines in the case it filed against China ruling that the latter has no historic title over the South China Sea, even as it claims rights to the resources within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line, and that it has in fact breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by disallowing its people to fish and the government to conduct oil and gas exploration.

But is it really and truly a victory for the Philippines or is it just a landmark decision for the world to know and appreciate the legality of it?

How could Filipinos be euphoric of the victory when China has been defiant all along calling the case a farce, thus, boycotting the hearings at the PCA, and now rejecting the ruling, saying, that its people had more than 2,000 years of history in the South China Sea so that sovereignty and maritime interests belong to them and must be militarily defended accordingly?

How could Filipinos be euphoric of the PCA’s favorable decision when nothing will change and the ominous presence of the artificial islands furiously built in record time with military facility flying the China flag will continue to prevail?

Let us not talk anymore about the huge damage inflicted on the ecosystem under the sea when China turned the reefs into islands, for if the international community led by the U.S. has not been able to prevent them from claiming 90 % of the South China Sea with their nine-dash line policy, who are we to drive them out, much less defy?

Surely the decision did not sit well with China as the arbitral court has made them appear as a bully not only to the Philippines but to the other claimant-nation in the region as well, and so what are we to expect next from this piqued giant nation?

Or to put it in another context, what are we to do with China?

Our options, I would like to think, is simply to face realities.

The reality that the U.S. has no other interest in the area but to make sure that the freedom of navigation will continue to be respected by China.

The reality that China has established itself already in the area for better or worse and nothing can be done about it now but to be respected by all nations.

The reality that it is advantageous for the country to continue talking with the devil we know, the Americans, who has been our friend and ally for a long, long time.

The reality that it also imperative that we have to talk with the devil we least know, the Chinese, who we find now too close for comfort at our backyard, for whatever concessions we can get to help the lives of our fisher folks in areas concerned and the safety of our OFWs in China, in particular, and for the country, in general, in terms of having its exclusive economic zone guaranteed and respected as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the country’s exploitation of marine resources.

The reality that the country is weak, helpless and hapless against China, but will never be intimidated as to give up our sovereignty for what is legally ours, thus, the Philippines need the assistance, military or otherwise, of other nations willing to help like Japan and Australia.

It is interesting to know, and the world is watching us, how the Duterte administration is going to resolve this contentious issue of territorial dispute with a win-win result.

For all intents and purposes the PAC awarding the Philippines a favorable decision does not call for euphoric feeling.

More than a victory it is a landmark decision for the world’s consumption.

Hopefully such landmark decision will not turn into a flashpoint. (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/militarization-the-south-china-sea/).

 

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