Justice Carpio gives lecture on West Philippine Sea

By , on October 9, 2015

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio
Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is arriving in Vancouver this week to give a lecture on the Philippine position on the brewing West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute.

Carpio will address an audience consisting of academics, students, media, diplomats and community members at a forum on October 9, at 5-8 p.m., at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Centre for South East Research. Vancouver will be the fourth stop in a series of lectures the magistrate is delivering in the United States and Canada.

In a synopsis obtained by PCI of his Oct. 9 lecture at the UBC, Carpio warned that allowing China, through its controversial nine-dash rule, to gain control over the South China Sea would encourage other powerful nations to also lay claim over the maritime zones of other coastal states.

He argues that China’s nine-dash claim over the South China Sea must be voided and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) be upheld.

Carpio said the UNCLOS, ratified by around 165 countries, entitles a coastal state to 12 nautical miles of territorial sea and an additional 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone, and, at most, another 150 nautical miles of extended continental shelf.
“You cannot claim beyond that. You cannot claim the entire sea,” he points out.

According to Carpio, “the recent creation by China of artificial islands in the Spratlys is shown as part of a grand design by China to control the South China Sea for economic and military purposes, turning it into a Chinese lake.”

The lecture will explain how the nine-dash line theory and the activities by China to enforce the claim violate UNCLOS and threaten the peace, security and stability of the region. The lecture will also show that the nine-dash line claim has no historical basis.  Throughout the Chinese dynasties, the southernmost territory of China had always been Hainan Island, Carpio asserts.

Carpio sees a possible resolution of the dispute if China returns to the original intent of the 1947 nine-dash line, articulated by President Ma Ying-Jeou of Taiwan, as a claim to islands and their maritime zones that are recognized under international law.

Carpio has been the most high-profile Filipino legal expert assailing the legality of China’s claim to 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea.

Before his US-Canada tour, Carpio had given several lectures in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Belgium.