The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed a report released by the US State Department on Friday that dismissed Beijing’s expansive claims in the West Philippine Sea.
“We welcome the affirmation of the 2016 arbitral award by the US State Department’s Limits in the Seas No. 150,” the DFA said.
“This is consistent with the Philippines-US Joint Vision Statement, which states that the People’s Republic of China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) are inconsistent with the international law of the sea,” it added.
According to the study which was released earlier this month, China has no legal basis to assert “historic rights” in the disputed waters, citing a Hague ruling which also invalidated them.
China’s maritime claims, according to the report, “gravely undermine the rule of law in the oceans.”
Albert del Rosario, Manila’s former top diplomat, backed the US State Department’s study, emphasizing how a “small country like the Philippines” could have such an impact on the world.
“We are proud to see that a small country like the Philippines is able to make that impact in the world, so that the Rule of Law prevails over China’s continuing deployment of brute force,” Del Rosario said.