The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has finally handed down its favorable decision, siding with the Philippines over its claims against China involving parts of the West Philippine Sea.
In a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. welcomed the positive development awarded by the arbitral tribunal.
“Our experts are studying the award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves,” said Secretary Yasay, adding, “in the meantime, we call on those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety.”
Yasay also reassured the country’s stand for upholding international rulings and finding diplomatic solutions to the long-standing maritime dispute. “The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea,” he said.
The favorable decision was something that the Philippines, particularly the DFA which spearheaded the filing of the case, had high hopes for.
Earlier, Filipino netizens and social activists united and coined the term “#CHexit” while calling out China to leave the West Philippine Sea ahead of the international court’s ruling. The term, which trended on Twitter, was inspired by the recent “Brexit” or British Exit, wherein the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union.
The Philippines formally lodged the legal measure under the United Nations 1982 Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) back on January 2013. It contains 15 points that reinforce the Philippines’ claims to exploit its exclusive economic zone which it claims China has violated throughout the decades.
The filing of the case stemmed from a tense standoff between the two Asian neighbors at the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 where China seized control of the disputed area.
Cover photo via PCA Case Repository