PHL submits 3,000-page, 12-volume documents to tribunal to bolster case against China

By , on March 18, 2015

Photo of China’s reclamation work taken by Philippine’s aerial surveillance.
Photo of China’s reclamation work taken by Philippine’s aerial surveillance.

MANILA — The Philippines has conveyed on Monday additional volumes of maps, legal arguments and charts to the Netherlands-based tribunal to further bolster its arbitration case against China.

Manila’s “supplemental submission” was in compliance with the tribunal’s Dec. 16, 2014 requirement for the Philippines to reply to 26 questions seeking additional argument and information on its case, said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose on Tuesday.

“The questions relate to issues concerning both the tribunal’s jurisdiction and the merits of the Philippines’ claims including the…lawfulness of China’s so-called nine-dash line,” Jose said.

Philippine diplomats said the submission is vital as it will determine if the country’s complaint against China has legal merit or not.

Manila, which initiated arbitration against Beijing in March 2013, is questioning the legality of China’s nine-dash line, a U-shaped massive enclosure of its claim of the disputed South China Sea, including areas that fall within Manila’s territory.

“The Philippines has submitted detailed responses and extensive additional information,” Jose said, adding the government is confident that the answers to the tribunal’s questions “leave no doubt that the tribunal has jurisdiction over the case and that the Philippines’ claims including its particular claims concerning the nine-dash line are well-founded in fact and law.”

Jose said the submission consists of 12 volumes and totaling over 3,000 pages.

Volume one consists of 200 pages of written argument, Jose said, while volume two consists of 200-page atlas containing detailed information about pertinent islands, reefs and other features in the South China Sea.

“Preparing such extensive submission in such short order required substantial effort and coordination from relevant concerned agencies,” he said.

Jose said the Philippines “appreciates the evident care and attention the tribunal is giving to this case as reflected by the scope and detail of the tribunal’s questions.”

Manila also praised the tribunal for its “utmost professionalism” despite “the difficulties created by China’s decision not to appear” in the proceedings and for making sure that “both sides are not prejudiced by that decision.”

Ignoring the claims of other parties like the Philippines, China, which does not recognize the country’s case, insists indisputable historical and sovereign right to the vast waters and its resources.

Manila says China’s claims are baseless and violates international law.