Today the Philippines has officially refused China’s offer to mutually withdraw from the Scarborough Shoal. Interestingly enough, China was quick to announce that it had never made such an offer while citing that “China’s determination of upholding territorial sovereignty and integrity is unshakeable. We will not do any trade with our territory and maritime rights and interest”.
As reported, Manila plans to file an arbitration case against China in March. China has made references that they will not participate in the hearings, so the main question that comes up is… Will China act like the United States, when the United States was sued by Nicaragua?
The United States refused to participate in the proceedings based on the claim that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had no jurisdiction. Furthermore, after the United States lost the case in the ICJ in 1984, the United States blocked the enforcement of the judgment using their position on the United Nations Security Council. This means that even though Nicaragua won the settlement, they were unable to obtain any restitution.
So what does this mean for the Philippines? It could mean that China, who is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council, could imitate the United States’ actions and keep the status quo as it is now: China maintaining its claims, and staying with the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone.
What do you think we should do?
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