Manila: The Philippines has protested to the United Nations over China’s claim’s to disputed areas in the South China Sea, saying Beijing’s stance has no basis under international law.
The Philippines claims sovereignty over parts of the Spratly Islands and its adjacent waters, an area believed to be sitting on huge deposits of oil, gas and minerals. China claims the whole territory.
Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim all or parts of the South China Sea.
In an April 5 protest sent by the Philippine’s permanent mission in the United Nations in New York, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, Manila asserted portions of the Spratly Islands, known as the Kalayaan island group, are an integral part of the country’s territory.
The Philippines said Beijing’s claim had no legal basis under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and said parts of the Spratly Islands were part of the Philippines based on international laws.
The Philippine protest was sent to the U.N. Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. The Philippines questioned China’s sweeping claims laid out in its “nine-dotted line” claim over the entire South China Sea submitted to the U.N. in 2009.
Malaysia and Vietnam had earlier filed similar protests against China’s claim. China has ruled out force in settling the dispute and signed an informal code of conduct in 2002 with 10 Southeast Asian states to ease tension in the disputed area.
Last month, the Philippines filed a protest with China over an incident in a disputed area in the South China Sea in which Manila says two Chinese patrol boats threatened to ram a survey ship.
(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by John Mair and Alex Richardson)