Thursday, April 19, 2012

China refuses PH offer to take Panatag Shoal dispute to int'l court

China has refused to accept the Philippines' offer to bring the territorial dispute over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal to international court.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) received informal reports that China has "rejected and dismissed" the Philippines' offer to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention.

"From our point of view, a rejection of such invitation is actually saying that they are not prepared to validate their claims," said DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez.

"If they are confident with their claims and their position, we are urging them to ITLOS and then show their papers and defend their position there," Hernandez added in an ANC interview.

A separate report from China Daily also said that their government has turned down the Philippines' offer.

"The moves underscored Beijing's determination to protect its maritime interests in response to Manila's refusal to withdraw ships from Chinese waters," said the newspaper report.

The Panatag Shoal is a triangle of small islands in the West Philippine Sea circling a lagoon of 150 square kilometers. It is part of the Philippines' 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, which is mandated by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

With reference from GMA News.

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