European Parliament Expresses Concern and Encourages Arbitration in South China Sea Dispute
Last month, the European parliament announced its support for an arbitration initiative to resolve the dispute between the Philippines and China regarding entitlement and passage through the West Philippine Sea, otherwise known as the South China Sea—an area that is significant for both countries’ trade routes. Citing the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and realizing the extreme importance of the South China Sea for matters of world trade, the parliament has given its full backing to the Philippines’ decision to submit to arbitration in the matter.
Tension has been escalating between the Philippines and China over the waterway for quite some time, and world leaders are worried that such tensions may result in military engagements over territorial claims. Therefore, international arbitration that focuses on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, seems to be the best way to resolve the tension before further aggressive action is taken by either side involved in the dispute.
A report that was written by the European parliament’s committee of foreign affairs on European Union-China relations stated that China should follow in the Philippines’ steps and “commit itself to observing the UN Charter and international law in pursuit of its goals abroad.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario stated that “The European parliament’s resolution is a milestone in the efforts of our country to generate awareness and support for our arbitration efforts. The recourse to arbitration is firmly rooted in the tradition of good global citizenship. We are strongly committed to seeing this arbitration through and there should be no doubts about our resolve to clarify our maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law.”
Representing the largest transnational democratic electorate in the world, the European parliament has approximately 375 million eligible voters.