Philippines: legal team wil take China to ITLOS unilaterally on reef crisis
Filed Under: Politics, World | Posted: 04/20/2012 at 3:22PM
Comments | Region: Philippines
Manila – "Our legal team will go to ITLOS unilaterally.” declared the Philippine governments foreign affiars spokesman, " “if China will not go with us to ITLOS,together- we will file for mediation ourselves" Raul Hernandez spokesperson for the DFA in manila said -
In officials stressed they want the issue seettled – should China not agree to settle a dispute over a reef that is within the Philippines 200 mile EEZ. "We do not want a war China over this.." Philippine President Aquino has stressed, noting close trade and cutlural ties to China."we do not want a conflict."
Overall the Philippine government has repeatedly stressed that the world has legal processes in place to deal with this let us go before the world body. What is China afraid of?" let the UN and ITLOS settle this.
"Scarborough shoals is important to the Philippines food security, it is integral to our territory, that point is not negotiable." a DFA statement released at the start of the issue said.
China has in mutlple treaties and international documentas as well as historical records waived all claims to the area since the Tang dynesty. Treaties from China’s defeat during the 1800′s when it fought several nations during the opium wars also clearly state China waving claims to the reefs and islets.
A report on the Univestiy of the Philippnes website shows.
The website had to be taken down because of hacker attacks from what Philippine authorities believe was overseas besed hackers.
Manila which is in the process of rebuilding its military is a treaty ally of the United States. The Philippines has strong ties to the US Navy and other branches of the US military where tens of thousands of Filipino’s serve. The Philippines is currently engaged in yearly military excercises with the USA under the Balikatan program.
PHILIPPINES COMMITED TO PEACEFUL SOLUTION
In a news release on the President’s website in Manila the government stressed it hopes for a peaceful outcome. "The Aquino government remains committed to ongoing consultations with the People’s Republic of China (PROC) toward a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the Philippine’s Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) situation,’ Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang issued the statement
THE news release went on to say that "China reportedly rejected the Philippines’ proposal to bring to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) the dispute over the Panatag Shoal Scarborough Shoal" the statement went on to say that.
"We continue to discuss the issue with the Chinese government. The Philippine government is determined to find a peaceful solution to this," Sec. Carandang said. He reiterated that the country exercises full sovereignty and jurisdiction over the rocks of Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag).
"But we’re also equally determined to assert our sovereignty over what is our territory," Carandang said, noting that Bajo de Masinloc is not part of the Spratlys.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Bajo de Masinloc is an integral part of the Philippine territory and part of the Municipality of Masinloc, Province of Zambales. It is located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales and is within the 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Philippine Continental Shelf.
Carandang said the government remains confident that the ownership dispute between the country and China would be resolved through diplomatic, legal and peaceful means.
"And I’d like to add also, while this issue has immediate implications for us and for China, it also has long-term implications for the rest of the region—for stability in the region," he said.
"In the immediate sense, this is an issue between the Philippines and China. But, in the end, this is an issue that has implications not just for the Philippines but also for other countries who are interested in navigating the South China Sea or, as we call it, the West Philippine Sea. So this is really an international issue," he said.