Oliver Bugarin 3 0 0 5 min to read

PH may look into a border agreement with China to resolve the Row in WPS: PBBM

In order to resolve its long-running maritime dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the Philippines may “examine” the technique utilized in the negotiation of the 2014 sea border agreement with Indonesia, according to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The agreement establishes the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) borders between the Philippines and Indonesia in the Mindanao and Celebes seas. It was initially signed in 2014 after more than 20 years of discussions.

Well, I believe it is at the very least worthwhile to investigate since it is an example of a discussion of this nature in which a conclusion and a resolution were reached. Thus, we ought to give it a shot,” Marcos said to reporters during a news conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Jakarta.

To begin his first state visit to Indonesia, Marcos met with the Filipino community in Jakarta on Sunday.

On Monday, Marcos and his delegation also had a bilateral meeting with authorities from Indonesia and a roundtable discussion with investors and businessmen from Indonesia.

Marcos expressed optimism that the same approach will be successful but said that other ideas might also be implemented if it doesn’t.

“Hopefully, it works now. We at least have a starting place, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll try something different. I view it that way,” he continued.

Marcos claimed that because of his interest in the delimitation negotiations between the Philippines and Indonesia, he assumed that similar procedures could be used to resolve territorial problems with other countries.

So I said there was a blueprint for the delimitation talks on the continental shelf we are currently having. Aside from the problems involving Indonesia and the Philippines, I also said that it was possible to resolve them. I’m arguing that this might serve as a model for the current delimitation talks on the continental shelf. Pwede natin gamitin ‘yan, pag iba, kahit na iba ‘yung kausap sa delimitation talks na ganyan. But, as I mentioned, we may use it even if we speak to others about the same delimitation, not just for concerns involving Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Indonesian Parliament approved the 2014 sea border agreement in April 2017 and former President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2017. Manila then completed the two-step domestic process in June 2019 when the Philippine Senate agreed with the executive confirmation.

Due to their membership in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Philippines and Indonesia are each granted 200 nautical mile EEZs.

Under the pact, states are granted sovereign powers to explore, exploit, conserve, and manage natural resources inside their EEZ.

Earlier, Ma. Teresita Daza, a spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, stated that Marcos is anticipated to address WPS-related concerns during his state trips to Singapore and Indonesia.

China, which asserts ownership of more than 80% of the South China Sea, including the WPS, which is located within the Philippine EEZ, and the Philippines are currently embroiled in a maritime conflict.

The Philippines brought an arbitration claim against China’s broad maritime claims before the arbitration court in The Hague in January 2013.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim to the waterway on July 12, 2016, ruling in favor of the Philippines.

China has consistently refused to accept the judgment.

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