China’s brazen disregard for international water laws has finally severed its ties with neighboring countries in the South China Sea. The Philippines has publicly called on China to comply with the 2016 arbitral ruling which had ruled that China has no “historic rights over the waters of the South China Sea”.
“Compliance in good faith with the award would be consistent with the obligations of the Philippines and China under international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) to which both parties are signatories,” Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a statement.
Indonesia has also decided to conduct exercises in the vicinity of the Riau Islands.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected China’s claims of having “historical rights” in the South China Sea. He also urged Beijing to respect the 2016 ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration which said that China has interfered with traditional Philippine fishing rights at Scarborough Shoal.
According to an article by Rahul Mishra, a senior lecturer at the Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya, Pompeo’s statement supporting the Philippines and highlighting the salience of international laws surprises all as the US itself is not a signatory to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) agreement.
Mishra said that Pompeo and Locsin’s remarks are the same as that of the “emerging collective voice of key Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries”.
“With the renewed US support to the Philippines on the South China Sea dispute, it is clear that China’s South China Sea gambit is likely to face more challenges in times to come. Its persistently aggressive policy is unlikely to yield any tactical or strategic outcomes. However, Beijing would still try to play its age-old ‘divide and rule’ policy with the South-East Asian countries, offering sweet deals to some while fiercely countering those who stand up to it,” Mishra said.