MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday announced that the Philippines has taken the step of bringing its West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) territorial disputes to China before an Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to achieve a peaceful and durable solution to the disputes.
The announcement was made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario.
Del Rosario, in a press conference, said that a note verbale detailing the notification and statement of claim that “challenges before the Arbitral Tribunal the validity of China’s nine-dash claim to almost the entire South China Sea (SCS) including the West Philippine Sea and to desist from unlawful activities that violate the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines under the 1982 UNCLOS” was handed to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing at around 1 p.m. Tuesday.
“The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime dispute with China……To this day, a solution is still elusive. We hope that the Arbitral Proceedings shall bring this dispute to a durable solution,” Del Rosario said.
“We hope that China would join us in this aspiration,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario noted that Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza has been tasked as the legal representative for the Philippines in these Arbitral proceedings.
“The lead counsel of the Philippines is Paul Reichler of Foley and Hoag LLP,” he said.
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