TURNING POINT: Responding to the Extended Provocation

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 11 September) – Whether nine- or ten-dash lines, it amounts to the same thing: it is China’s provocative pronouncement of the extent of its territory, which visibly includes Taiwan in the latest dash.

Already, the Hague Arbitral Tribunal ruled that the nine dash-line territorial claim usurps the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), its sovereign territory, as enunciated by the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The claim has no basis and is illegal.

Yet, China, a participant and signing member of UNCLOS, dares to violate the very law it helps to promulgate. Its defiance of the law and the ruling of Hague Court manifests in its persistent and aggressive deployment of several maritime militia and coast guard vessels inside the EEZ of the Philippines, the latter named as West Philippine Sea. These armed patrols have been harassing and driving Filipino fishers away from their traditional fishing grounds. They have also water-cannoned Philippine boats to stop them from ferrying supplies to its marine station in Ayungin Shoal.

We hear again cry for another diplomatic protest. Is there no end to this futile response? We need to do something more emphatic to show our disgust, and for the whole world to know, to their escalating aggression, like recalling some of our diplomatic corps from select regions/cities of China. We may also formally inform the United Nations of the deliberate acts of China in torpedoing the integrity of the Hague Tribunal.

The UN General Assembly in 2021 condemned Russia for invading Ukraine and annexing its territory and holding Russian elections in the grabbed territory. Bringing our case to the UN may bear same fruit, which, in some way, is satisfying.

We need to act now.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)

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