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PH tells China to prove Spratly claims thru Unclos

MANILA – The Philippines Tuesday (January 10) enjoined China to validate its claim on the Spratlys as it said it is prepared to substantiate its right in the Kalayaan Group of Islands (Spratlys) using the rules-based United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

On his way to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) retreat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Del Rosario said, “we look upon our valuable and long-standing friendship with China to be one that is based on mutual respect and equality.”

“To peacefully and finally settle the disputes in the West Philippine Sea, it behooves conflicting claims to be resolved based on the rules-based regime of the UNCLOS,” Del Rosario said.

“The Philippines is therefore prepared to validate our claims under UNCLOS, and we cordially invite China to join us in endeavoring to validate its own claims,” Del Rosario added.

The Philippines recently protested China’s latest incursions in the Escoda (Sabina) Shoal.

Citing reports from the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the DFA protested the recent sightings of two Chinese vessels and a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ship at the vicinity of Escoda (Sabina) Shoal last December 11 and 12.

Escoda Shoal is located 123.6 nautical miles from Palawan and is clearly within “Philippine sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction.”

But China dismissed the protest, saying it “will not accept the groundless accusations from the Philippine side.”

“We hope the Philippines will not create something from nothing and cause disturbances,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said.