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PH UN mission rejects Malaysia, China claims in South China Sea

The Philippines rejected Malaysia’s bid to extend the limits of its continental shelf in the South China Sea, invoking a landmark 2016 arbitral victory that invalidated China’s sweeping claim in the disputed waters.

The country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said Malaysia’s petition before the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf covered features of the Kalayaan Island Group, over which the Philippines has sovereignty.

The Philippines also questioned Malaysia’s submission that is projected from portions of North Borneo, saying the country “has never relinquished its sovereignty.”

“The area also overlaps with the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of the Republic of the Philippines is measured, and over which the Government of the Republic of the Philippines intends to make a submission at a future time,” the mission said in a note verbale dated March 6.

The Philippines also rejected China’s own rejection of Malaysia’s submission, citing the arbitral ruling that rejected Beijing’s sweeping nine-dash-line claim over the entire South China Sea.

“The Government of the Republic of the Philippines considers China’s positions as inconsistent with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which comprehensively allocate maritime rights to States,” the permanent mission said in a separate note verbale also dated March 6.

Malaysia submitted its petition to extend its continental shelf beyond the 200-nautical mile limit to the UN body in December last year.

As this developed, Beijing on Wednesday accused the United States of a “provocative” act by sending a warship into disputed territorial waters in the South China Sea.

The USS McCampbell missile destroyer sailed near the Paracel Islands on Tuesday without authorization, according to the People’s Liberation Army.

The Paracel Islands are a chain of disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea, claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

“Under the guise of ‘freedom of navigation,’ the US has repeatedly flexed its muscles, been provocative and stirred up trouble in the South China Sea,” PLA Southern Theater Command spokesman Col. Li Huamin said. 

“This is a hegemonic act that violates international law, and ... threatens the peace and stability of the South China Sea.”

PLA Navy forces tracked and identified the ship before warning it to leave, the statement said.

The US Navy 7th fleet confirmed the freedom of navigation operation.

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose an unprecedented threat to the freedom of the seas,” said US Navy 7th fleet spokeswoman Commander Reann Mommsen in an emailed statement.

“By conducting this operation, the United States demonstrated that these waters are beyond what China can lawfully claim as its territorial sea and that China’s claimed straight baselines around the Paracel Islands are inconsistent with international law.” With AFP

Topics: Philippines , Malaysia , South China Sea , United Nations , Kalayaan Island Group
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