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Thayer The Philippines Claim to the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal: Implications for Viet Nam

Thayer The Philippines Claim to the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal: Implications for Viet Nam

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
An examination of four main topics: Chinese expansion in the Paracel Islands, Chinese expansion into the Spratly Islands, the Philippines' Claim to the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal and the legal and political implications for Viet Nam.
An examination of four main topics: Chinese expansion in the Paracel Islands, Chinese expansion into the Spratly Islands, the Philippines' Claim to the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal and the legal and political implications for Viet Nam.

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Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Apr 30, 2013
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05/16/2013

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ThePhilippines’ClaimtotheUNCLOSArbitralTribunal:ImplicationsforVietNam
CarlyleThayer
PresentationtoInternationalWorkshoponTheSovereigntyOverParacelandSpratlyArchipelagoes–HistoricalandLegalAspectsPhamVanDongUniversity,QuangNgaiCityApril27-28,2013
 
2
ThePhilippines’ClaimtotheUNCLOSArbitralTribunal:ImplicationsforVietNamCarlyleA.Thayer
*
Introduction
ThispaperconsiderstheimplicationsforVietNamofthePhilippines’decisiontolodgeaNotificationandStatementofClaimwiththeUnitedNations(UN)toestablishanArbitralTribunaltoconsiderlegalaspectsofitsdisputewithChinaintheSouthChinaSea(EastSeaorBienDong).ThispaperbeginswithabriefoverviewofChina’sexpansionintotheSouthChinaSeafrom1974untilthemid-1990s.ThepaperthenconsidersthespecialcaseoftheParacelIslandsthatChinaseizedfromVietNamandwhichremainabilateralsovereigntydisputeuptothepresent.Next,thepaperdiscussesChineseoccupationoffeaturesintheSouthChinaSeaclaimedbyVietNamandthePhilippines.Finally,thepaperdiscussesthedetailsofthePhilippines’slegalclaimbeforetheUnitedNations.Theconclusionsdiscussthelegalandpolitical/diplomaticimplicationsforVietNamaswellastheprospectsforaCodeofConductfortheSouthChinaSea(COC).
ParacelIslands
Inthemid-1950sthePeople’sRepublicofChina(PRC)occupiedtheAmphitritegroup(NhomTuyenDuc)intheeasternParacelIslands(QuanDaoHoangSa).WiththissoleexceptionthePRCwasnotphysicallypresentelsewhereonfeatures(islandsorrocks)intheSouthChinaSeafrom1949-1973.Aslateas1981,markersplantedbytheNguyenDynasty(1802-1945)werestillobservedbyVietnamesefishinginwatersaroundtheParacelIslands.ThesemarkerswerelaterdestroyedbyChineseauthorities.
1
Since1973thePRChasembarkedonaprolongedcampaigntoassertcontrolovertheSouthChinaSeabasingitsclaimsto“indisputablesovereignty”andhistoricalrightson

*
EmeritusProfessor,TheUniversityofNewSouthWalesattheAustralianDefenceForceAcademy,Canberra.Email:c.thayer@adfa.edu.au.RevisedApril30,2013.
1
BriefingbyaVietnamesefisherman,LySonIsland,April28,2013.
 
3
thoseofitspredecessortheRepublicofChina(ROC).In2009ChinaofficiallytabledamapwiththeUNCommissionontheLimitsoftheContinentalShelfcontainingnine-dashlinesformingau-shapeenclosingapproximatelyeightypercentoftheSouthChinaSeainitsambitclaim.China’s2009mapwasbasedononepreviouslyissuedbytheROCin1947.Newhistoricalevidenceseemstoindicatethatthe1947mapwasdrawnupbytheROC’sInspectionCommitteeforLandandWaterMapsin1933.BecausetheInspectionCommitteehadnevercarriedoutanddidnothavethemeanstocarryoutapropersurveyitcopiedexistingBritishAdmiraltymapsandindoingsocarriedovercartErrorsintheBritishmaps(sincecorrected)werecarriedoverandincorporatedintoROCmaps.
2
ChinahasneverprovidedalegalclarificationofitsterritorialclaimsintheSouthChinaSea.WuShicun,presidentofChina’sNationalInstituteforSouthChinaSeaStudies,forexample,states,“[t]hewidelyheldview(inChina)isthatofademarcationlineforislands.Thatviewholdsthatallislandslyingwithinthe‘cow’stongue’[China’snine-dashu-shapedline]belongtoChina,andthatChinahas‘historicalrights,’includingfishingrights,overthesurroundingwaters.”
3
InJanuary1974,ChinesenavalforcesengagedanddefeatedthearmedforcesoftheRepublicofVietNam(VietNamCongHoa)andoccupiedtheCrescentgroups(DaoNguyetThiem)ofislandsinthewesternParacels.InMarch1953,thePRCStateCouncilofficiallyestablishedtheGuangdongProvince-Paracel-Spratly-MacclesfieldBank(Zhongsha)Authorityasacounty-leveladministrativeunitheadquarteredonWoodyIsland(PhuLamDao)intheAmphitritegroupoftheParacelIslands.In1984responsibilityforthisunitwaspassedtotheHainanAdministrativeRegionthatwasupgradedtoprovincialstatusinApril1988.InSeptember1988thePRCrenamedthe

2
BillHayton,“Howanon-existentislandbecameChina’ssouthernmostterritory,”
SouthChinaMorningPost,
February9,2013.
3
InterviewwithNozomuHayashi,“OfficialsaysBeijinghas‘historicalrights’overSouthChinaSea,”
ElBee
,January26,2012.

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