MANILA, July 9 (PNA) — The country’s lawyers further explained to the UN Arbitral Tribunal how the Philippine case does not constitute specific exemptions under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which would preclude it from having jurisdiction over the case, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on the continuation of the First Round of the Philippines’ Arguments at The Hague.
The tribunal is in its second day of hearing on the First Round of the Philippines’ Arguments in its case against China.
Valte said in a bulletin on Thursday that during the morning hearing, Professor Philippe Sands briefly addressed questions propounded by a member of the tribunal from yesterday’s hearing.
“Advocates Lawrence H. Martin, Professor Bernard H. Oxman and Paul S. Reichler took turns presenting arguments involving various points on why the Philippines’ claims fall squarely within the jurisdiction of the tribunal,” Valte said.
For the afternoon hearing, Professor Alan Boyle presented to the tribunal arguments regarding the strength of the Philippines’ environmental and fishing claims against China.
Valte said that Professor Philippe Sands closed the First Round of Arguments by summarizing the submissions of the Philippines presented in the course of the hearings.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague that the South China Sea dispute “goes to the very heart” of the so-called Constitution for the Oceans — the UNCLOS.
Del Rosario said on Tuesday that it is not just the Philippines’ claims against China that rest in the tribunal’s hands but in the spirit of UNCLOS itself.
In submitting its case, the Philippines is not asking the tribunal to rule on the territorial sovereignty aspect of its disputes with China, according to Del Rosario.
“We are here because we wish to clarify our maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, a question over which the Tribunal has jurisdiction,” he told the tribunal.
“This is a matter that is most important not only to the Philippines, but also to all coastal States that border the South China Sea, and even to all the States Parties to UNCLOS.”
China violates UNCLOS by asserting its “historic rights” established by its 9-dash line, Del Rosario explained.
The 9-dash line is China’s demarcation to claim virtually the entire South China Sea. The Philippines does not recognize China’s historic rights through the 9-dash line.
Del Rosario further told the tribunal that if China can defy the limits placed by the convention on its maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, and disregard the entitlements of the Philippines under the convention, then UNCLOS will have no value for small states parties as regards their bigger and more powerful neighbors. (PNA)