MANILA — Amid the ongoing tensions among countries claiming ownership of territories in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines made another appeal for signatory states of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to respect the treaty.
The appeal, made during the 24th meeting of UNCLOS state parties in New York last week, includes all signatory countries, including China.
Citing that all countries are “obliged to observe the treaty in its entirety,” the Philippines asked all to preserve the integrity of the treaty and the institutions created under it.
It also made a particular mention on the institutions established for peaceful settlement of disputes, and the viable mechanism provided to avoid violence in the process of reaching an agreement.
UNCLOS’ importance in mitigating disputes and governing the rights and responsibilities of all the parties in attaining sustainable use of the world’s resources, was also cited.
Libran Cabactulan, Philippine Ambassador to the UN said that the country’s respect for the UNCLOS is manifested on its filing of a memorial before the arbitral tribunal to argue its claims on the disputed territories.
While urging China to respect international laws, Cabacutan also insisted that China should refrain from doing actions that would alter the status quo in the West Philippines Sea.
The Philippines has earlier filed a 4,000-page petition before the Court of Arbitration in The Hague on March 30.
The country presented its claims backed by arguments and evidence against China’s nine-dash line.
It also argues against Beijing’s expansive and ‘excessive’ claims in the West Philippine Sea.
Though China still denies issuing a formal response to argue its claims in the international court, the tribunal has given Chine until Dec. 15 to answer the petition.