Carpio's game plan: Pressure China to respect arbitration ruling


Posted at Oct 31 2019 09:28 AM | Updated as of Oct 31 2019 09:40 AM

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MANILA - Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is supporting the move to bring the Philippines' legal victory against China over the South China Sea to the United Nations General Assembly to get the support of world leaders.

"The locus of world opinion is the UN General Assembly, and if you want to influence world opinion, you start there," said Carpio in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

Carpio said there are two ways where China will comply with the ruling. The first one, which he said seems impossible, is if China voluntarily complies with the ruling.

"The second is if China is pressured by world opinion to comply with the ruling. Does world opinion matter to China? Yes, because China has to export to survive. It has to import to survive," he explained.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague upheld in 2016 Philippines’ sovereign rights to its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), rejecting China’s historic claim to resources in the South China Sea using its 9-dash line doctrine.

China claims large parts of the South China Sea and is ramping up its militarization activities in the resource-rich waters. Other claimants, such as Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, contest the territorial claims.

Last September, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario urged the Duterte government to bring the arbitral ruling to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Del Rosario proposed that the DFA "formulate a strategy on how the global village of nations can be convinced to take a stand on the rule of law in support of the Philippines."

Carpio said bringing the resolution to the UN General Assembly must be done by the government. 

"If this government does not want it, then the next government can possibly do it. We are not looking at this government only," Carpio said.

"We are presenting an option to the Filipino people on how to enforce the ruling. The Filipino people must know that there are options - it is not just a question of either we go to war with China or we submit to China. There are many other ways of enforcing the ruling," he said.

Carpio retired earlier this month after 18 years with the Supreme Court. He is best known for his advocacy in fighting for Philippine interests in the West Philippine Sea.