The day finally arrived. Manila has challenged Beijing in the Permanent Court of Arbitration over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Their legal argument comprises 4,000 pages focusing on freedom of navigation, China’s 9-dash line claims and China’s unlawful activities within the region.
China of course objects to these proceedings… but is Beijing the only one against the court ruling?
The Philippines has no doubt a strong case before the court; however, some other countries may feel that by traveling this path alone, Manila is not “following the ASEAN way”… and could therefore be shunning possible friends and supporters.
Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan all have some sort of issue with China; yet with the Philippines taking this issue to court–the Philippines isn’t just gambling with their political capital, but possibly the political capital of its neighbors as well.
If the Philippines wins (which I believe they will), it could be seen as beneficial to the other four… but if Manila loses… then that loss could affect those four countries’ chances at solving their territorial disputes with China as well. And I am unsure if the other four agree with Philippines arbitration case…
This article even states “the ultimate purpose of the [Philippine’s submitting its 10-volume] is our national interest.” Not Brunei’s, Not Malaysia’s, Not Vietnam’s and Not Taiwan’s.
Do you think Manila was right to weigh in alone? Or do you think she should have had more international support from its neighbors prior to challenging China, when just more than its own national interests are at stake?
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(Photo from Rappler.com)