Tóm Lược: Thi hành Luật Biển UNCLOS, Hải quân Phi Luật Tân cho phép tàu bè thông thương qua lại trên lãnh hải trực thuộc Phi Luật Tân, nhưng sẻ không để thuyền tuần tra Trung Quốc tới đặt phao mốc ở vùng biển mà Phillippines tuyên bố có chủ quyền, trong khu vực hải phận kinh tế, nội 200 hải lý từ bờ biển của Phi Luật Tân. www.vietthuc.org.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Commodore Miguel Jose Rodriguez said on Sunday that the Philippine Navy will not intercept the Chinese patrol ship deployed to the West Philippine Sea last Wednesday, but it will not be allowed to place markers in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines to comply with 1992 UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).
the Philippine Navy
“Anybody can pass through [the Philippines’] exclusive economic zone (EEZ), through the right of innocent passage. Again, that is [allowed under the] UNCLOS. These are these are international waters but you do not have the right to explore and exploit because this right is an exclusive right of the coast state,” he said.
China, has recently made aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea (also known as the South China Sea), particularly in the oil and mineral rich Spratly Islands. All or some of the islands are being claimed by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
Last week, the Philippines removed markers put by China in the unoccupied Amy Douglas Bank and Boxhall Reef, in contravention of the 2002 Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea. The two areas are well within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone provided under UNCLOS.
“Even in our territorial waters, any ship has the right to enter our territorial waters for the purpose of innocent passage, provided it is expeditious and direct,” Rodriquez explained. “Nobody will violate anything if they pass by our exclusive economic zone because our right under the exclusive economic zone is to explore and exploit the natural resources there.”
The UNCLOS provides that a coastal state has a 200-nautical mile EEZ from its shores or baselines. The Spratys are well outside China’s EEZ although are clearly within the EEZ of the Philippines.
But it would be different story, he stressed, if the ships would lay claim on the disputed islands or exploit the Philippines’ EEZ. “When they stop and do research and put up markers, then that is actually a violation of our exclusive right, that’s why we call it exclusive economic zone,” he said.
“If there is another party other than the coastal state who will do that, then that is a violation of UNCLOS, unless they ask permission from the coastal state which in this case is the Republic of the Philippines,” he added.
Signatory states to the UNCLOS
Rodriguez, however, welcomed the decision of six ASEAN countries — Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Singapore — in joining the clamor of the Philippine government to peacefully resolve the dispute over the Spratlys. This consensus was reached during the recent 21st Meeting of State Parties of the UNCLOS held in New York.
Rodriguez noted that China is signatory to the UNCLOS, adding that every signatory-state must respect the international conventions they have acceded to.
“If you have ratified UNCLOS and you are signatory to that, what’s the use of signing that if you’re not going to respect that,” he said.
“This is an agreement which a self respecting nation should comply with. If you are a party to the agreement, if you are a self-respecting nation, you should comply, without mentioning any country at all,” he added.
“We [the Philippines] have signed the UNCLOS, which provides the framework by which we treat certain territories or certain areas. For example, the territorial sea and then the exclusive economic zone and we have all agreed to that, all the claimant countries in the Spratlys have agreed to UNCLOS,” he explained.
“An eye for an eye makes the world go blind,” he added, quoting from the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.
“We are not doing that, there is an international forum, and there is a convention we have all agreed. We should make use of that and this is the UNCLOS,” Rodriguez said.
“From the AFP side, we believe that it [UNCLOS] is really the way to go. There has to be rules,” the military spokesman said.
“That [UNCLOS] makes us all equal as sovereign nations. It doesn’t matter whether your land area is big or small, you have bigger population. You are counted as one and you are respected as a sovereign state,” he said. “If we signed [and] became a party to an agreement like the UNCLOS, then we should actually resolve certain concerns within the framework of UNCLOS.”
MRT/KBK, GMA News