Philippines Continues Pursuit of International Arbitration in Dispute with China
Friday, October, 24, 2014
Calling it the only possibility of resolving the issue, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III continued to push for a legally-binding arbitration finding in his country’s ongoing dispute with China or territorial claims. The Philippines has claimed that China has illegally claimed areas of Philippine waters, and has sought to cement the claim by building infrastructure, including two hydrographic ships and offshore oil wells. The Philippines and other nearby countries are also concerned that several small islands that China has also claimed despite protests could be used to establish military bases, which China has denied.
The dispute has left many other nations with economic and territorial interests in the region nervous that the conflict could become military if the dispute is not resolved quickly. Aquino has reassured international observers that the Philippines is for now seeking only an international arbitration hearing that would be binding on China. The Philippines filed with The Hague international tribunal, but China has so far failed to respond.
China responded to the filing by calling it “damaging”’ to the relations between the two countries. The Philippines pointed out that China is violating a 2002 agreement regarding codes of conduct on the ocean that it signed. China has so far also refused to comment on that. Lacking any cohesive international response to China’s aggression in the area, there is little the Philippines can do, as it does not possess the economic or military power to match China under any circumstances.