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U.S. study bolsters Manila’s UNCLOS win

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday welcomed a recent United States (US) study that refutes China’s “unlawful” claims in the South China Sea (SCS).

In its recent study entitled “Limits in the Seas No. 150”, the US State Department concurred with the Philippines’ 2016 victory at the Hague-based court as it concluded that Beijing’s claims in the SCS are “ungrounded” and “gravely undermine the rule of law in the oceans.”

“We welcome the affirmation of the 2016 Arbitral Award by the US State Department’s Limits in the Seas No. 150: People’s Republic of China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea,” the DFA said.

“This is consistent with the Philippines-US Joint Vision Statement issued on 16 November 2021, which states that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea are inconsistent with the international law of the sea as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law on the Sea (UNCLOS),” it added.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, one of the key figures in the country’s victory at the Hague-based court, likewise hailed the report earlier saying it affirms the 2016 ruling in favor of the Philippines.

“What is remarkable in the 2022 study of the US State Department is that it draws heavily from the 2016 Arbitral Ruling won by the Philippines in The Hague against China,” he said in a statement.

“We believe that this is part of an ongoing consolidation of positions around the 2016 Arbitral Ruling among those who adhere to the rule of law in international relations. We have already seen the US, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and our neighbors in the South China Sea invoke the 2016 Arbitral Ruling against China’s preposterous claims,” he added.

Tension brew between the two countries over its ongoing territorial dispute in the highly-contested West Philippine Sea.

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