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How the Relationship of China and Philippines Does Affect Its Good Relation?

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How the relationship of China and Philippines does affect its good relation?

This paper attempts to evaluate the possible outcome or effects towards the relationship of two conflicting states (especially on the issue of dispute Spratly Islands). The two claimants of the islands (Philippines and China), argues that these islands were part of their sovereignty.  Why Spratly Island is worth fighting for?  Why is that, there are too many states claiming this inhabited island? Why China refuse to accept the tribunal’s decision?

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The Spratly Islands dispute is an ongoing territorial dispute between Brunei, China (People's Republic of China), Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, concerning ownership of the Spratly Islands, a group of islands and associated "maritime features" (reefs, banks, cays, etc.) located in the South China Sea. The dispute is characterized by diplomatic stalemate and the employment of military pressure techniques (such as military occupation of disputed territory) in the advancement of national territorial claims. All except Brunei occupy some of the maritime features.

The ‘History of the Spratly Islands’ posits that China was not the true owner of the disputed island and that they just claimed it when Germany tried to survey Spratly and Parcel island in 1883. With the protest the China has ousted against Germany, they (China) sent naval forces on inspection tours in 1902 and 1907 and had immediately placed flags and markers on the islands. Republic of China (ROC) claimed the islands under the jurisdiction of Hainan (History of the Spratly Islands). In 19th century, the Europeans found that Chinese fishermen from Hainan annually sojourned on the Spratly islands, which means that ROC based their claims on historical aspects and does not produced any legal papers to confirmed that they were the rightful owner of the disputed island; except for the U map they insist to assert bounding all the islands in the South China Sea (History of the Spratly Islands). To ensure full security to the island China established a garrison in Itu Aba since 1946. With the evacuation happened on 1950, a Filipino named Tomas Cloma had uprooted the ROC flag and laid claim on the island, knowing these, ROC regarrisoned on 1956 in Itu Aba up until now (History of the Spratly Islands).

Since 1970s during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos, Philippines and China maintains and established good relation to each other and thus creates several agreements such as the Joint Trade Agreement (1975), Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement (1978), Postal Agreement (1978), Air Services Agreement (1979), Visiting Forces Agreement (1999), Cultural Agreement (1979), Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (1992), Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation (1999), Tax Agreement (1999), and Treaty on Mutual Judicial Assistance on Criminal Matters (2000), (China-Philippines Relations). By the time Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reigns she directly managed to signed 8 bilateral agreements between China and Philippines (Mortensgaard). However, with the current issue that the Philippines and China claimed, it affects its good relation towards each other. According to Lin Alexandra Mortensgaard, the Spratly Island (which can be found in the South China Sea) is also called as the West Philippine Sea and East Sea of Vietnam. According to her, the island up until now has a confusing number of exact details-as such with the reefs, islands, and atolls. She also cites that some academics claim up to 230 while others speak of 150 “named landforms” and some only include 40-50 islands and reefs. Even the CIA seems uncertain in its estimate when writing that the Spratly consist of “100 or so islets”. The appellants of the dispute island were the People’s Republic of China, Republic of China/Taiwan, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The three claimants of the dispute island based their claims on historical facts mainly the People’s Republic of China, Republic of China and Vietnam while the others, Philippines, Brunei, and Malaysia refers mainly to international law and conventions when justifying their claims. (The Spratly Islands Dispute- A Discourse Analysis, 2015)

Why do claimers of the disputed island choose to risk fighting for their sovereignty over the disputed island? It may be considered that the disputed island could produce resources in which it could possibly bolster one’s (state) economy. It is undeniably shocking that China pursues full ownership of the disputed island. There are three main resources present in the South China Sea; hydrocarbons, commercial fishing, and commercial shipping (Spratly Islands Dispute). About 17.7 billion of natural gas and oil reserves estimated to be found near the Spratly islands and consist of at least 11.7 million of tons in terms of commercial fishing (Spratly Island Dispute). It sparks the interest of neighboring state to at least acquire part of the South China Sea Island because of this opportunity. China has built air stripes, radar facilities, solar arrays, lighthouses, and support buildings in the island (Watkins, 2016). It may well regarded that China builds up strategic military camp in South China Sea. The airstrips and ports lengthen the reach of Chinese ships and planes, while the radar facilities allow the country to keep a closer eye on what is happening nearby. Imagery from January compiled for a recent report by the C.S.I.S. suggests that China may be constructing a longer-range high-frequency radar installation on Cuarteron Reef that would help the country monitor air and ship traffic in the south, farther from the Chinese mainland (Watkins, 2016). The vulgar refuse of China versus Philippines decision over Spratly Islands makes things terrible. After the decision of the court, Taiwan refuses to recognize last week`s ruling in a case lodged by the Philippines in the Hague that denies China`s vast claims to the South China Sea. Taiwan, formally known as the "Republic of China" and deemed by China a renegade province, is also a claimant in the South China Sea (Taiwan fishermen pack flags, noodles, set sail for disputed South China Sea "island").  The judges ruled that the specific portion of the South China Sea claimed by both China and the Philippines belongs to the Philippines alone. None of the small land features claimed by China is sufficiently large to justify maritime "exclusive economic zones" for any nation, the tribunal said. The court concluded that Chinese efforts to create man-made islands on top of atolls and reefs, as well as its large-scale fishing in the disputed areas, are illegal. China's interference with the Philippines' fishing and oil exploration of the region is also unlawful, the tribunal said (Rosenfeld, 2016). Beijing will "never" stop building in the South China Sea prematurely, a top military official has vowed, despite an international ruling that its actions were illegal. "We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway," Wu Shengli, the commander of the People`s Liberation Army Navy (Beijing vows to continue South China Sea Construction). Beijing held military drills in the South China Sea just days before the international arbitration court ruling, state media reported. A combat air patrol was mounted over the sea recently and these would become a regular practice in future, an air force spokesman said separately. Bombers, fighters and other aircraft were sent to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao -- the Chinese name for Scarborough Shoal (Beijing vows to continue South China Sea Construction). On the other hand, the judgment by an international tribunal in The Hague came down overwhelmingly in favour of claims by the Philippines and is likely to increase global diplomatic pressure on Beijing to scale back military expansion in the area. By depriving certain outcrops of territorial-generating status, the ruling from the permanent court of arbitration effectively punches holes in China’s all-encompassing “nine-dash” line that stretches deep into the South China Sea (Beijing Rejects Tribunal’s Ruling in South China Sea Case). The Hague tribunal overwhelmingly backed the Philippines in a case on the disputed waters of the South China Sea, ruling that rocky outcrops claimed by China - some of which are exposed only at low tide – cannot be used as the basis of territorial claims. It said some of the waters were “within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China”. The tribunal furthermore found China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in those waters by interfering with its fishing and petroleum exploration and by constructing artificial islands.



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