UN closely monitoring arbitration of sea row

MANILA, Philippines - The United Nations is closely monitoring developments in the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China even as Manila reiterated assurances that its arbitration case against Beijing is “a form of peaceful settlement of disputes, which should not be considered an unfriendly act.”

As this developed, the Philippines and Japan holds today their 2nd Dialogue on Maritime and Oceanic Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

In a report to the DFA, Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Libran Cabactulan told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a meeting last Feb. 19 that the filing of the arbitration case “will be an opportunity for China to assure the international community of its peaceful rise.” 

Cabactulan stressed that Manila’s action was consistent with the position of the UN General Assembly since 1982 when it adopted the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes. “Our representation with the Secretary-General conveyed this basic Philippines position,” Cabactulan said.

Accompanying the ambassador in his meeting with Ban were UN Undersecretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia O’Brien and other senior UN officials.

Cabactulan clarified that the case concerns China’s interpretation and application of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), specifically its nine-dash line claim which interferes with the lawful exercise by the Philippines of its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.