UNCLOS to end, arms race begins if Tribunal refuses jurisdiction on Philippine case against China

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said if the Arbitral Tribunal will refuse to assume jurisdiction on Philippines’ case against China’s nine-dash line which insists sovereignty to virtually the entire West Philippine Sea the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) will begin to end and arms race will be triggered.

“Why is it important to apply UNCLOS to the South China Sea dispute, because if we don’t apply it then UNCLOS, the Constitution for the ocean and seas of our planet cannot also apply to any maritime dispute in the rest of the oceans and seas of the world, it would be the beginning of the end of UNCLOS,” Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said at an event entitled “Perspective on the Issues Involving the West Philippine Sea” held at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City July 29 as quoted by Philippine News Agency.

“Just imagine if the tribunal says we don’t have jurisdiction, the Nine-Dash Line is valid then what will happen, the only way we can protect our ourselves is to acquire warships, warplanes, anti-ship missiles, resources that should go to education, infrastructure, and social services will have to be re-allocated to defense and, no matter how many warships we buy we cannot defeat China, we can only hope to deter China but there is no way we can win in a total war, so its totally useless,” Carpio added.

He further said that arms race “will just worsen the dispute, and the judges in the tribunal will be out of job because nobody will follow the law of sea anymore.”

After hearing Philippines’ position on jurisdiction and admissibility earlier this month, the five-man tribunal said it will “endeavor to issue its decision on such issues of Jurisdiction and Admissibility that it determines appropriate as soon as possible and expects to do so before the end of the year.”