MANILA – An official of the Philippine Navy on Sunday said the country is “one with the community of nations” in ensuring the freedom of navigation across the vast South China Sea as he welcomed the support of three European countries to the arbitral award that invalidated China’s expansive claims in the disputed waters.
“We welcome the statement of support given by France, Germany and the UK on the narratives of the ruling made by the PCA (Permanent Court of Arbitration) when it ruled in favor of the Philippines,” Navy chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, said.
France, Germany, and the United Kingdom submitted a note verbale to the United Nations last week asserting the 2016 arbitral award which opposed China’s vast “historical claims” in the resource-rich waters.
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 PCA “confirms this point”.
“We are one with the community of nations in ensuring a continuing freedom of navigation across this vast maritime zone,” he said.
He, however, added that the note verbale has no bearing on the enforcement of the PCA ruling that Beijing refuses to recognize.
“The issue is compliance to the ruling among signatory nations to the UNCLOS,” Bacordo said.
The note verbale challenges Beijing’s claims over the South China Sea and supported the ruling that favored Manila. (PNA)