Senators caution about potential new maritime case with China

Philippine Senators Warn of Possible New Maritime Case Against China

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may consider filing another case against China following its announcement of a new policy allowing the detention of foreigners, including Filipinos, crossing waters claimed by China, two senators warned on Sunday.

Senator Risa Hontiveros stated that if China proceeds with this regulation, it could force the Philippines to take legal action at the Hague Tribunal. The Permanent Court of Arbitration had previously invalidated China’s claims to the South China Sea in a 2016 ruling.

Similarly, Senator Francis Tolentino suggested the possibility of filing a case against China at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos) or the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Under the new Chinese policy set to take effect on June 15, the China Coast Guard is authorized to detain foreigners suspected of violating entry and exit controls in waters claimed by China.

Hontiveros criticized China’s new policy as confirmation of its status as a “rogue nation.” She urged the Philippines to seek support from allies like the United States, Japan, Australia, and other nations to oppose China’s violation of international law.

Tolentino emphasized that China’s actions were in violation of international maritime laws, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He argued that the Philippines, as the coastal state nearest to its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), should have jurisdiction over the area, not China.

Both senators stressed the importance of upholding the rule of law and protecting the Philippines’ maritime rights amidst China’s aggressive actions in the region.

The Philippines had previously won an arbitral ruling against China in 2016, declaring China’s “nine-dash-line” claim invalid. Despite this ruling, China has refused to accept the decision, escalating tensions in the South China Sea.

In response to China’s latest policy, the Philippines reiterated the final and binding nature of the arbitral award, asserting its sovereignty over its territorial waters.

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