Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio delivered a comprehensive presentation on the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea dispute at the Press Club Brussels on 20 May 2015.
Co-organized by the Philippine Embassy in Brussels and Belgium’s Royal Institute for International Relations (the Egmont Institute), almost 100 participants attended the event, including officials from the Belgian government and the European Union, members of the diplomatic corps, academicians, students, and members of the think tank community and the press.
The Embassy also displayed hi-resolution printouts of historical maps from Philippine, American and Chinese sources which illustrate that Hainan has always been China’s southernmost territory and that, contrary to China’s arguments, its claim over the South China Sea islands and features is fairly recent.
Ambassador Marc Otte, Director General of the Egmont Institute, opened the event, emphasizing the importance of the issue to the international community. Dr Sven Biscop, Director of the Egmont Institute’s Europe and the World Programme, moderated the discussions.
In his remarks, Justice Carpio presented arguments based on the law of the sea, as well as historical and cartographic evidence, to disprove China’s claim of historic rights in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea and prove that China’s 9-dash line is illegal under international law. He also encouraged the EU to help in convincing China to participate in the arbitration case filed by the Philippines.
A panel of experts, including Dr Michael Reiterer of the European External Action Service, Ms Theresa Fallon of the European Institute of Asian Studies, and Professor Erick Franckx, a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and President of the Department of International and European Law of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels), weighed in on the issue. The experts agreed on the importance of an international law-based approach to settling the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea dispute. END