LONDON, July 13 (Xinhua) — Two British experts said lately that the arbitral tribunal in The Hague should not have agreed to hear the South China Sea case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China.
The government of former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III filed the arbitration against China in 2013, ignoring the agreement his country had reached with China on resolving their South China Sea disputes through bilateral negotiations.
The tribunal issued its final award on Tuesday, sweepingly siding with Manila’s cunningly packaged claims.
“There is a current anticipated crisis in the South China Sea prompted by a Court of Arbitration decision to hear a one-party claim to a part of the South China Sea,” said Stephen Perry, chairman of the 48 Group Club, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
“Arbitration is defined in the dictionary as a dispute where the parties have agreed to settle it by arbitration. Clearly China does not accept arbitration to settle the dispute, so the Court should not have agreed to hear this dispute presented by only one party,” he said.
Noting that the two nations should pursue other means they agreed to settle their dispute, Perry explained that “the dispute cannot be settled … by a process which only includes one party. It is not an arbitration.”
“I have been involved in many hundreds of arbitrations and always both parties agree on arbitration, or there is no arbitration,” added the businessman.
Shahid Qureshi, London Post’s editor and political analyst, said the fact that “the tribunal has allowed the case to go ahead in spite of its lack of justifiable jurisdiction” poses a big question mark to the tribunal’s “intention” and “interest.”
“I am of the view that the tribunal must review its position and jurisdiction for the sake of institution it stands for; otherwise it will become a joke in the legal history as they did not follow the due process of law,” Qureshi noted.
He pointed out that the Philippines, filing the case without consulting with China, failed to fulfill its obligation stipulated in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), a document signed by China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations including the Philippines in 2002.
“I think under the terms and conditions stipulated in DOC, the Philippines seems to have jumped higher than necessary and must review its position,” he said.
Stressing that “local solutions” are always the best, Qureshi argued that “the Philippines could talk with China about the matters arising about the situation in the South China Sea.”
The analyst also said the real reason behind the so-called “militarization” in the South China Sea is the military involvement and “war profiteering” of the United States, which in recent years has sent military jets and warships on close-in reconnaissance in the nearby waters and air space of China’s islands and reefs.
“The U.S. has a policy of creating wars or disputes within the countries and also in the neighboring countries of the targets (based on its long term objectives), starting from Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq,” he explained.
“One can ask a simple question to U.S. officials: ‘What are you doing in my neighborhood in the first place’?” Qureshi said.