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South China Sea Primer

South China Sea Primer

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Vannessa Lyka Cabacungan on Jun 16, 2013
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Res nullius The Philippines claims that the Spratly Islands were res nullius prior to the acquisition

of the islands by France and then later, by Japan. When Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, it relinquished the islands, along with the Paracel Islands, although there were no specific beneficiaries. Thus, the Philippines argued that the group of islands became res nullius once again and was available for annexation. This became the justification for Tomas Cloma’s claim five years later. Tomas Cloma’ Claim On May 15, 1956, a Filipino navigator claimed to have discovered a group of islands which supposedly did not belong to any other state. He occupied the group of islands, naming it “Freedomland.” His claim encompasses 53 islands, shoals and reefs which were spread throughout the eastern South China Sea. Cloma established a protectorate in the region on July that same year, with Pag- asa as its capital. He became the “Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Kalayaan State.” Although without the official endorsement of the Philippine government for this action, it was perceived by other claimants as aggression by the Philippines. Cloma went to the United Nations in New York on October 1956 to plead his case and the Philippines posted troops in some of the islands to protect the inhabitants in those islands. In early 1971 the Philippines, on behalf of Cloma, sent a diplomatic note to Taipei, asking ROC to withdraw its troops from Itu Aba. On July 10, 1971, President Marcos officially annexed KIG to the Philippine territory although the exact features were not determined by either Cloma or Pres. Marcos. Thus, the Philippines began to claim as many features as possible. Kalayaan was finally incorporated to the province of Palawan in April 1972. Geographic Justification Generally accepted practice in oceanography: name of the largest island in the group = name of the group of island/ use of a collective name  Pag- asa Island is much larger than Spratly Islands; hence, Pag-asa and Spratly do not belong to the same island chain

All the islands claimed by the Philippines lie within its archipelagic baselines.  1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Negotiations November 1999 – drafting of regional code of conduct November 4, 2002 – Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea August 31, 2003 – proposal of China to the Philippines for possible joint exploration of petroleum

September 2003 – declaration of peace among the claimants at the Asian Association of Parliaments for Peace March 2005 – national companies of China. Vietnam and the Philippines signed a joint accord to conduct marine seismic experiments for economic purposes .

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