A firm response, not rhetoric nor old pleas, is merited to China's blatant disregard to International Law on the Seas of Asia. The Philippines sounded the alarm last year over China's actions on the South China Sea in respect to surveying, fishing, drilling and land reclamation on disputed reefs and islands. Yet, as the United States(US) and China's neighbors on the disputed waters plea for a diplomatic initiative to China's assertions, China has continued and has multiplied its actions on the South China Sea.
Last Friday when a defense publication confirmed through satellite images that China was building an island on a reef in the Spratlys(claimed by the Philippines), US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool, urged China to stop its land reclamation program and "to engage in diplomatic initiatives to encourage all sides to restrain themselves in these sort of activities," Reuters reported. China has responded with its old claim of "indisputable sovereignty" to 90 percent of the South China Sea and that nobody "in the outside world has no right to make irresponsible remarks on China-related activities," Reuters credited to China foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS), the International body of laws governing conduct on the World's seas, reserves to sovereign nations a 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone off a country's coast. The Spratlys are within the 200-mile zone allotted to the Philippines. Thus the reefs are Filipino. Yet, China, citing old maps from bygone ages, has claimed most of the South China Sea and as a result, China has territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei on the South China Sea.
That China's actions at land reclamation on some five reefs on disputed waters runs amok of International Law, is an understatement. China's actions confirm that the communist government in Beijing has blatantly shown a disregard to International Law and that it has flaunted China's interpretation of Chinese ideology as that of a higher authority trumping International Law.
But China must be brought under the jurisdiction of International Law and a firm response to China's actions is merited. The Philippines has a right to remove structures placed upon its territory without Filipino permission.
[This Blog has been repeated on Asia Today]