From left: Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio. Philippines Principal  Counsel Paul Riechler; Foreign Affiar Secretary Albert del Rosario and   Representative Rodolfo Biazon at the pre- hearing  briefing at the Arbitral Tribunal, Netherlands.  From left: Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio. Philippines Principal Counsel Paul Riechler; Foreign Affiar Secretary Albert del Rosario and Representative Rodolfo Biazon at the pre- hearing briefing at the Arbitral Tribunal, Netherlands. Source: Official Grazette Philippines

Fair Dinkum by Lolita Farmer OAM It’s On Hearing on the Merits of Case on South China Sea

It’s On Hearing on the Merits of Case on South China Sea
As the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Netherlands awarded recently on 29 October 2015,its first decision on the Republic of the Philippines v The People’s Republic of China that it has jurisdiction on the arbitration of the South China Sea the first day of the hearing on the merits opened last Tuesday, 24 November 2015.
There are 4 primary issues that Manila will ask the court to decide:
1) China’s claim to the nine-dash-line if it is within the entitlements under UNCLOS.
2) That the nine-dash-line is an excessive claim with the Philippines arguing that China’s occupation of various features in the Spratlys Islands is illegal.
3) The Court will evaluate that China is illegally exploiting the natural resources within the areas that is under the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under UNCLOS
4) That China has interfered with the Philippines ability to freely navigate its own EEZ.
Firing the first salvo was the Solicitor General Florin Hilbay presenting the sequence of arguments to the Tribunal.
Paul Reichler Principal Counsel followed next, discussing how the nine dash line do not exist under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). That China has deprived the Philippines of the fishing and exploration activities by claiming exclusive rights.
The unlawfulness of China’s claim beyond the maritime entitlements under UNCLOS to the South China Sea was addressed by Professor Bernard Oxman as it violates the rights of coastal states like the Philippines.
Assuming for the sake of argument that a claim of historic rights exists under UNCLOS Andrew Lowenstein argued that China failed to show of continuous exercise of control over a long period of time needed to satisfy its claim. Maps were presented eight of them dating back to the Ming Dynasty which shows that China’s territory did not include the so called nine-dash-line.
The hearing continues till 30 November 2015.

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