THE lies being spread over the Philippines’ “arbitration” suit against China and its “award” are a testament to the US’ power to control global narratives.
Indeed, in its intensity and embrace by so many people, the dominant anti-China view on the arbitration suit is on par with the epic lie the US spread in 2003 to justify its totally illegal and horrific invasion of Iraq: that it had weapons of mass destruction that threatened the world.
That isn’t really surprising; the elites in a nation, and the US in the world as the hegemon, almost always dominate current views. In time, however, these will be exposed as fabrications. That lie about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction has been totally, absolutely and inarguably exposed as one of the most shameless deceptions in modern history, and its real intentions — to secure for the next century the West’s oil supplies and to reinvigorate America’s “defense” industry — are coming to light.
There is not an iota of doubt that the US and its local minions’ false narrative over the South China Sea arbitration will sooner or later be exposed for what it is: plain facts just do not support that fiction. I do hope that happens soon. If more Americans had questioned President George W. Bush’s lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, perhaps he would not have invaded that country, which, together with other wars it triggered, led to at least 3 million people directly and indirectly killed.
ADR-Stratbase (AS) has been one of the main purveyors of the US view of the arbitration suit against China. It was in fact set up in 2013, precisely when the suit was filed, with huge US help, but officially by the poster boy of the arbitration, the late Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.
It recently went on overdrive to “celebrate” the 7th anniversary of the arbitration “award.” It issued a statement, also attributed to its president, Victor “Dindo” Manhit, whose very first paragraph reads: “ADR-Stratbase (AS) reiterates that the arbitral award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the West Philippine Sea is final and legally binding to the parties of the proceedings.”
Manhit is totally wrong in the very first sentence of that statement — that the award was issued by the PCA.
The body that heard the suit and issued the “award” — the term it used and which never referred to it as a decision — was, as the title page of the actual document puts it, “An Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.” The word “tribunal” is used here in its sense of a panel handling disputes and not in its second meaning of a “court of justice.”
Manhit most likely saw the title page of the award, which at the very top page had the note “PCA Case No. 2013-19” but could not fathom what the “Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII” meant, so it got stuck in his mind — for seven years now — that it was that PCA that issued the award, which therefore China must comply with if it believes in international law.
Manhit obviously didn’t have the intellectual penchant to read through the 151 pages of the tribunal’s first decision issued in October 2015, nine months before the final “ruling” on the Philippine claims against China. This is the document, “Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility.” Manhit should have read even just its paragraphs (nos. 31 to 33) so he wouldn’t appear for years to be so ignorant of what he has been talking about.
These paragraphs read as follows:
“On 5 July 2013, the President of the Tribunal wrote to the Permanent Court of Arbitration to ascertain whether the PCA was willing to serve as Registry for the Proceedings. On the same date, the PCA responded affirmatively.
“On 6 July 2013, the President of the Tribunal wrote to the Parties to seek their views about the designation of The Hague as the seat of the arbitration and the PCA as the Registry. On 8 July 2013, the Philippines confirmed that it was comfortable with both designations. China did not respond.
“On 11 July 2013, a meeting of the Tribunal was held at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Following the meeting, on 12 July 2013, the Tribunal issued Administrative Directive No. 1 pursuant to which the Tribunal formalised the appointment of the PCA as Registry and set in place arrangements for a deposit to cover fees and expenses. “
For Manhit’s benefit, I explain in layman’s terms: The PCA simply acted as a registrar (the depository of documents), office secretary, and lessor of the offices of the panel members and their staffs, as well as the impressive cathedral-like hall where the oral deliberations were held. The PCA staff were also the waiters to serve coffee and snacks and the office boys to run to the copying machines. The PCA had nothing to do with the arbitral tribunal’s award.
Earlier paragraphs (28 to 31) of that document should enlighten Manhit on what the arbitral tribunal was:
“In its Notification and Statement of Claim, the Philippines appointed Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum, a German national, as a member of the Tribunal in accordance with Article 3(b) of Annex VII to the Convention.
“China did not appoint a member of the Tribunal within 30 days of receiving the Notification and Statement of Claim. Consequently, on 22 February 2013, the Philippines requested the President of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (‘ITLOS’) to appoint the second arbitrator … On 23 March 2013, the President of ITLOS appointed Judge Stanislaw Pawlak, a national of Poland, as arbitrator.
“By letter dated 25 March 2013, the Philippines requested the President of ITLOS to appoint the three remaining members of the Tribunal… On 24 April 2013, the President of ITLOS appointed Judge Jean-Pierre Cot, a national of France, and Professor Alfred H.A. Soons, a national of the Netherlands, as arbitrators and Ambassador M.C.W. Pinto, a national of Sri Lanka, as arbitrator and President of the Tribunal.
“On 21 May 2013, Ambassador Pinto withdrew from the Tribunal. By letter dated 27 May 2013, the Philippines requested that the President of ITLOS fill the vacancy… On 21 June 2013, the President of ITLOS appointed Judge Thomas A. Mensah, a national of Ghana, as arbitrator and President of the Tribunal, thus constituting the present Tribunal.”
Thus, all members of the five-member arbitral tribunal on the arbitration suit, except for one designated by the Philippines, were appointed by the then ITLOS president, Shunji Yanai, a former Japanese ambassador to the US who is known to be very pro-American and anti-China.
An article in the Chinese newspaper Xinhua claimed: “Due to the maritime conflicts and historical issues between China and Japan, as well as Yanai’s political leanings, it is not surprising that Yanai generally chose arbitrators that were biased against China.” “From the result of the arbitration, people can see that it was conducted by a bunch of people who knew very little about the South China Sea issues,” Xinhua quoted Motofumi Asai, a former official of the Japanese foreign ministry in charge of China affairs and a former colleague of Yanai. Xinhua also reported: “Japanese political analyst Jiro Honzawa [said] the arbitration is not about truth but about politics.” “The Philippines was abetted by the US and Japan to apply for arbitration because the latter two want to contain China.”
The US has certainly always been a diabolical, hidden schemer.
What essentially is an “arbitral tribunal”? You and your neighbor are squabbling over the use of an empty lot adjacent to both of your houses. Your neighbor says that to settle the dispute, you and he should agree to let an arbitral tribunal decide it. You refuse to participate because you’re 100 percent sure you actually own the lot. Your neighbor anyway goes ahead with the arbitration process, and the panel awards him the lot.
It is so shameless for Manhit to still claim that the award was issued by the PCA. Even the US, which manipulated President Aquino 3rd and his foreign secretary del Rosario into filing the suit, as well as its vassal countries, no longer say this and instead state that it was an arbitral tribunal that issued the award.
I’m not sure if Manhit is just simply ignorant about the award or doing the propaganda job required of him. The claim that the award was issued by the PCA — established in 1899 as a professional, objective arbiter (when it is asked to do so by willing parties) — portrays it as an unquestionable decision by a court,” which China must comply with.
But the arbitral tribunal was not a court in any way but merely an ad hoc panel whose members were appointed by the Philippines and an anti-China ITLOS president.
How can you believe Manhit and his ADR-Stratbase’s propaganda over the arbitration and the entire South China Sea dispute when they’re very wrong about what body issued the award? As that legal principle says: “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” (“False in one thing, false in everything”).
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