MANILA – France, Germany, and the United Kingdom submitted a note verbale to the United Nations, asserting the 2016 arbitral award which opposed China’s vast “historical claims” in the resource-rich South China Sea.

The diplomatic notes, dated Sept. 16, came following the numerous communications issued by China in response to Malaysia’s submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

The three European powers collectively said the”claims with regard to the exercise of historic rights over the South China Sea waters do not comply with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provisions” and none less than the 2016 landmark decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration “confirms this point”.

In their note verbale, the three nations also called on all claimants to resolve disputes “peacefully” and in accordance with the principles and rules of UNCLOS.

The South China Sea where the Spratly Islands are located is contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, and China, which claims almost 80 percent of the waters under its so-called “nine-dash line”.

The arbitration case initiated and won by the Philippines in 2016 ruled that these sweeping claims by the Asian power are illegal, a ruling Beijing continues to reject until now.

The Tribunal further ruled that UNCLOS “superseded any historic rights, or other sovereign rights or jurisdiction, in excess of the limits imposed therein.”

In a prior diplomatic note dated March 6, 2020, Manila refuted China’s claims on the Spratly Islands or the Kalayaan Island Group as “inconsistent with international law, including UNCLOS”.

It underscored that the Philippines has “sovereignty and jurisdiction” over the said area as well as the Bajo de Masinloc. (PNA)

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