Philippines welcomes growing global support in West Philippine Sea

Philippine Mission to the United Nations welcomed the international community’s growing recognition that developments in the West Philippine Sea maritime disputes concern the international community as a whole, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre expressed this while addressing the Legal Committee of the UN General Assembly at debate on the rule of law last October 16.

Ambassador Yparraguirre noted that the root cause of the disputes is China’s claim of ‘indisputable sovereignty’ over almost 90 percent of the South China Sea, as enclosed by its so-called Nine-Dash Line.

China has done aggressive reclamation in the last two years after the Philippines initiated UNCLOS arbitration proceedings against it, preventing the Philippines from accessing its traditional fishing grounds and from enforcing its relevant laws within the West Philippine Sea.

“The so-called Nine-Dash Line is an excessive and expansive claim, and does not have legitimacy under international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Ambassador Yparraguirre remarked.

“Territorial or maritime claims should never be asserted through intimidation, coercion or force, including through massive, large scale ocean filling or reclamation or illegally creating artificial islands in the high seas and in the exclusive economic zone of another coastal State,” she added.