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Contradictory statements show Beijing missing mark

/ 12:16 AM July 07, 2016

What is asserted without proof can be denied without reason. But against proof and reason, who can deny the truth (or stand in court)?

China has taken a dogmatic stance that it would “not accept any means of third-party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on China” (“Beijing to reject Hague ruling on South China Sea case,” News, 6/30/16). Contrarily, the UN international arbitration tribunal is not a third party but a legal body recognized by UN member-countries or the international community. Neither is the tribunal going to impose “any means of dispute settlement or solution” on China; it would just issue a court ruling that China, as a member of the United Nations, needs to respect.

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The United States is not a party to the dispute, but it’s a vital part of the world confederated under the United Nations.  Hence the United States’ (or the world’s) role in the conflict—which is to ensure that security, equity, justice and truth prevail in the settlement or resolution of the dispute over the Scarborough Shoal, especially in light of a UN court verdict—is legitimate and should not be construed as meddling or

overstepping.

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I find China’s pronouncements to be awfully contradictory:  “The Chinese government will continue to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and will continue to work with states directly concerned to resolve the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiations and consultations on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law, so as to maintain peace and stability in the South Sea.”

In response, let me quote pertinent facts from my article published by the Inquirer two years ago (“A giant ‘asleep’ in incivility,” Opinion, 3/8/14).

“China’s international law scholars argue that their country should be open-minded about the international judicial system…  In his book, “Toward a New Framework for Peaceful Settlement of China’s Territorial and Boundary Disputes,” author Junwu Pan wrote: ‘Dr. Jao Fengun pointed out that China’s negative attitude to the ICJ (International Court of Justice) is in contradiction with its promise to respect international law.

“Prof. Huang Deming said that China should not exclude other peaceful methods when it tries to resolve its territorial and boundary disputes through negotiations and consultations. One scholar explained that states need peace and peace needs law and law needs the court. Dr. Zhu Fenglan even suggested that China should use the ICJ or the Itlos (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) to settle its maritime boundary dispute…  if diplomatic negotiations fail. Many other Chinese scholars made similar recommendations.”

Sadly, the present government of China won’t budge. It seems to be too “tough,” thereby missing the mark and limiting itself to only two options: War or peace.

—RENI M. VALENZUELA, [email protected]

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TAGS: arbitration, Beijing, China, Maritime Dispute, South China Sea, United States, West Philippine Sea
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