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China on collision course with the UN as the Philippines has asked a United Nations body for help in the South China Sea!

The Philippines and China are locked in a mounting dispute over control of a stretch of the Western Pacific Ocean.

Manila has formally requested the United Nations to recognize the extent of its undersea continental shelf in the South China Sea, challenging China’s expansive territorial claims in the area.

The Philippines submitted data to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf concerning its undersea shelf off the western Palawan province.

China is expected to contest the Philippines’ action.

The undersea region under contention includes the Spratly Islands, a cluster of islands, islets, reefs, and atolls that have been fiercely disputed over by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

Indonesia has also encountered confrontations with Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels in the Natuna Sea, which is rich in natural gas and lies on the periphery of the South China Sea.

Philippine Foreign Assistant Secretary Marshall Louis Alferez said: “Incidents in the waters tend to overshadow the importance of what lies beneath.

“The seabed and the subsoil extending from our archipelago up to the maximum extent allowed by UNCLOS hold significant potential resources that will benefit our nation and our people for generations to come.

“Today, we secure our future by making a manifestation of our exclusive right to explore and exploit natural resources in our extended continental shelf entitlement.”

Under the 1982 UN convention, coastal states have exclusive rights to exploit resources within their continental shelves, including the authority to approve and regulate drilling activities.

The undersea continental shelf claimed by Manila may intersect with those claimed by other coastal states in the South China Sea, such as Vietnam.

Philippine officials have expressed willingness to engage in discussions to address these overlaps based on UNCLOS.

Antonio Lagdameo, Manila’s permanent representative to the UN, stated that this initiative “could stimulate efforts among states to demonstrate their commitment to UNCLOS processes in determining maritime entitlements and promoting an international order based on rules.”

Tensions in the disputed waters have escalated significantly, particularly between China and the Philippines, involving two contested shoals since last year.

Chinese coast guard ships and suspected militia vessels have engaged in aggressive actions, including using high-pressure water cannons and dangerous maneuvers to obstruct Philippine coast guard and navy vessels, resulting in injuries to Filipino naval personnel, damage to supply boats, and strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Following a tense standoff near a shoal in 2012, the Philippines brought its disputes with China to international arbitration the following year.

In 2016, the arbitration panel invalidated China’s expansive claim over nearly the entire South China Sea. However, Beijing refused to participate in the arbitration, rejected the ruling, and continues to defy it.


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