The Arbitral Tribunal announced on October 30 that it has jurisdiction to hear the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines over some parts of the South China Sea using the UNCLOS. China snubbed the initial talks and maintains that it will continue to assert its claim of the disputed islands based on sovereign and historic rights.
Other claimant countries include Brunei which claims a southern reef of the Spratly Islands, while the Philippines claims eight. Malaysia claims three islands. Vietnam and Taiwan have their claims too in the Spratly and Paracel island groups. But China claims the entire high seas.
OSM! Forum listens to the opinion of Filipino community leaders on this.
Mona Lunot Kuker, New York
“The UN should enforce sanction against China by banning all China products in all nations under the UN. If this is not possible, it’s time for the Philippines to get ready and rely on its defense by investing more high tech military equipment and start a massive recruitment and intense training for a military defense combat.”
Lumen Castaneda, New York
“I cannot find any reason for China not adhering to the judgment of the tribunal except that they are showing that they are a big power to reckon with. They are relying on their strength because the Philippines cannot fight.”
Arturo Garcia, Los Angeles
“The issue is far from being resolved. There is no final decision yet in relation to the UNCLOS. It is only the Arbitral Tribunal that decided that it be discussed with the UNCLOS. More educational discussion is needed.”
Arturo Catarata, Manila
“I am personally worried and I believe war in this part of the globe is looming if not averted by the arbitration in the UN. But yes China is challenging that. One part of the equation is not taking part of it. So, I think it cannot be resolved.
The Philippine government is helpless at this point. It must rely on the Arbitration body and show utmost good faith. I think we will win that. But can we impose the judgment of the tribunal on China? I think not. Can the UN? It can. But, at what cost?
Our hope is people to people relations. We must drumbeat public opinion that will encourage the Chinese people to make their government agree to arbitration and abide by its decision. Long shot. There must be serious effort to connect with the people of China, the press, non-government organizations, businesses.”