Background Briefing:South China Sea: PhilippinesTakes Case to UN - 2Carlyle A. ThayerJanuary 23, 2013
[client name deleted]Foreign Secretary of Philippines announced the Philippines will unilaterally bring itsScarborough Shoal dispute wit China to the International Tribunal on the Law of theSea (ITLOS
) in spite of Beijing’s rejection. Some cast doubt that
ITLOS has no powerin solving the dispute in the case that one of the parties in the dispute disapproves.So, what's behind the move of Philippines and how could it affect the situation of South China Sea dispute? What is your assessment?ANSWER: China opted out of the binding dispute settlement mechanism clauses of UNCLOS just after it ratified the convention. Nonetheless, the UNCLOS arbitraltribunal can take on a submission by the Philippines and issue an award. If thissupported the Philippines, the Philippines would be on better legal and moralgrounds than China. By taking this current action the Philippines is defying Chinawhose deputy foreign minister, Fu Ying, told Secretary del Rosario not tointernationalize their dispute by (1) going to the UN, (2) raising it with third partiesincluding allies [read the US], and (3) not to hold high-profile public pressconferences. In other words, the Philippines has opened a legal front against Chinesewishes. China
s demand that the South China Sea not be internationalized is nowdead in the water.
Suggested citation: Carlyle A. Thayer, “
South China Sea: Philippines Takes Case to UN- 2
Thayer Consultancy Background Brief
, January 23, 2013.
ABN # 65 648 097 123