News Release

PH needs support from int’l community to resolve dispute with China – UP prof

The Philippines needs the support of the international community amid the brewing tension between the country and China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

This was the assessment made by a professor from the University of the Philippines (UP) during a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday.

“Kailangan pa rin natin ang suporta ng international community at tama lang na sinusuportahan tayo ng international community na i-condemn itong mga ganitong aksyon,” said professor and lawyer Jay Batongbacal, referring to the latest provocative actions of China in Ayungin Shoal.

He said China’s actions which injured one Philippine Navy personnel must be noted. China must be held accountable “for having caused this damage, for essentially attacking the vessel with those knives in order to disable them,” he said.

But the professor opined the dispute between the Philippines and China can still be resolved. “Puwede pa iyon na maresolba later on,” he said.

The important thing, he said, is for the Philippines to show where the country stands. He said the Philippines is still open for peaceful negotiations. He also said the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) are still very much in effect.

Meanwhile, Batongbacal shared the rules and jurisprudence in international law related to the Ayungin Shoal incident marred by Chinese provocations.

“There are rules and jurisprudence on this issue particularly in International Humanitarian Law and the laws of armed conflict. And in those rules or laws, incidents such as skirmishes, isolated skirmishes, geographically-isolated skirmishes may be considered as what legally might be classified as ‘frontier incidents,” said Atty. Batongbacal.

“These are not yet enough to be considered as an armed attack that warrants the engagement in self-defense or the right of self-defense and collective self-defense, also under the UN charter. And the intention here is to give space also for diplomatic resolution of the disputes between states which have the skirmishes,” he said. |PND