Second of 3 parts
ANOTHER of the lies of Victor Andres Manhit, president of the pro-US ADR-Stratbase outfit, is that seven years after the arbitration award on the Philippine suit vs China was handed down by a five-man ad hoc panel, there has been growing “unanimous” support for it.
That’s a patent lie. The reality is that there has been waning interest in the arbitration award, and this year’s flurry of activity by the ADR-Stratbase to celebrate the award’s seventh anniversary was a pathetic attempt to draw attention to it.
The world and even the US has realized that the award, as President Duterte said in 2021, is just a useless “piece of paper.” As I have argued in several columns, if one reads the award, it not only does not have any means of enforcement: It actually doesn’t even order China to do anything.
Yes, it declares that the nine-dash line in the Chinese maps has no basis in international law. But it doesn’t order China to vacate the islands and reefs in the Spratlys it occupies, which the Aquino 3rd government falsely claimed was its justification for holding on to these. Contrary to ignorant claims that the suit was a “legal victory” for the country, it settled nothing over the sovereignty and maritime-rights disputes in the Spratlys. In its very fifth paragraph, the award pointed out: “Unclos does not address the sovereignty of States over land territory. Accordingly, this Tribunal has not been asked to, and does not purport to, make any ruling as to which State enjoys sovereignty over any land territory in the South China Sea, in particular with respect to the disputes concerning sovereignty over the Spratly Islands or Scarborough Shoal.”
Even a US propaganda venue on the South China Sea disputes — the Asian Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI) — could not but help reporting the declining interest in the arbitration award. The AMTI is an affiliate of the Washington-based Center for Strategic Studies set up right after the Aquino 3rd government filed the arbitration suit in 2013. Its Philippine-based counterpart in fact is the ADR-Stratbase outfit that was set up the same day. (more…)