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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Senators warn China of legal consequences over its detention policy in disputed waters

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China risks violating international laws if it pushes through with its recent policy of detaining foreigners passing through South China Sea, known in Manila as West Philippine Sea, according to Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Tolentino.

Hontiveros said over the weekend that the Philippines might be compelled to sue China at the Hague Tribunal again if it enforces its new regulation. She called the policy illegal, highlighting it as further evidence of China’s emerging reputation as a rogue nation.

The senator believes the policy was in direct response to the ‘Atin Ito’ coalition, which recently conducted a peaceful civilian supply mission on the waters of Bajo de Masinloc (also known as Scarborough and Panatag Shoal), in solidarity with Filipino fishermen struggling at sea.

Hontiveros said this clearly struck a nerve with China, and instead of responding diplomatically, Beijing opted to impose tyrannical tactics that only exacerbated the situation.

Tolentino echoed her sentiments, saying the Philippines could file additional cases against China before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

He pointed out that China’s maritime boundaries are well-defined, extending only 12 nautical miles from Hainan, far from the disputed Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, which fall within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.

Both senators called for international support against China’s latest actions.

Hontiveros, citing former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, urged the Philippine government to rally allies like the United States, Japan, Australia, France, and other like-minded nations to join patrols within the Philippines’ EEZ. 

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