Int’l community backs Hague Ruling

July 12, 2023 Cristina Lee-Pisco 246 views

THE international community commended the Philippines by adhering to the rule of law and upholding the highest standards through the 2016 Arbitral Award even as they reiterated support for The Hague Ruling validating the Philippines sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the disputed territory in the South China Sea (SCS).

French Ambassador to the Philippines Michele Boccoz said China’s expansive maritime claims in the SCS has no legal basis.

“This position was clearly stated in April during the F7 Foreign Ministers’ communique. Also last week, together with the Philippines and other like-minded countries, France expressed its concern in regard to the recent developments involving Chinese vessels in SCS. The peaceful resolution of disputes, based on the rule of law, is the very basis of the international order our nations established after two devastating world wars,” she said.

“There is simply no alternative to the strict adherence to the rule of law. In that regard, through the 2016 Award, the Philippines upholded the highest standards. This historical milestone paves the way for the peaceful settlement of disputes in the SCS,” Boccoz added.

The Ambassador clarified that while France does not take position on sovereignty aspects relating to claims, it is their fundamental interest to underline the importance of such efforts to maintain a non-confrontational, constructive behavior for regulating international relations.

Australia also affirmed its support to The Hague Ruling.

Australian Ambassador to Manila Hae Kyong Yu said the 2016 Arbitral Award is final and binding on both China and the Philippines.

“We continue to call for respect for international law, particularly #UNCLOS, for an open, stable and prosperous region,” she added.

United States Ambassador to Manila MaryKay Carlson reiterated US calls for claimants to resolve territorial and maritime claims peacefully and in accordance with international law.

Japan Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa urged both China and the Philippines to comply with the Award stressing it is final and legally binding under the provisions of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Foreign Minister said the claim by China that it will not accept the award is against the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, in particular UNCLOS, and undermines the rule of law as a fundamental value of the international community. Japan strongly hopes that the parties’ compliance with the award will lead to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.

“Upholding and reinforcing the free and open international order based on the rule of law will be the benefit of all countries, large and small. Based on this recognition,” Hayashi said.”Japan highly appreciates the Government of the Philippines for having consistently complied with the award, and shown its commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea including through the statement of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo issued in July 2022 regarding the award.”

The Foreign Minister said Japan renews its objection to maritime claims in the South China Sea that are inconsistent with UNCLOS and remains seriously concerned about the current situation.

Recalling that the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement issued in February 2023, G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué in May 2023 and G7 Foreign Ministers’ Communiqué in April 2023 underscored the importance of the free and open international order based on the rule of law.

“Japan reiterates its strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion,” he said adding Tokyo will continue working in coordination with ASEAN and other countries concerned to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law.

On July 11, the EU Delegation in Manila and the embassies of Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden encouraged both the Philippines and China to see the Award as a potential basis for peaceful dispute resolution on the sea lane.

“The Award of the Arbitral Tribunal is a significant milestone, which is legally binding upon the parties to those proceedings, and a useful basis for peacefully resolving disputes between the parties,” it read.

It said “The EU reiterates the fundamental importance of upholding the freedoms, rights and duties established in UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), in particular the freedoms of navigation and overflight.”

On July 12, 2016 The Hague invalidated China’s expansive nine-dash line claims in the SCS.

In its statement, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to secure, free and open maritime supply routes in the Indo-Pacific, “in full compliance with international law, as reflected in UNCLOS, in the interest of all”.

In addition, it supported the swift conclusion of talks on an effective Code of Conduct between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China and called for it to be fully compatible with UNCLOS while respecting the rights of third parties.