Jun 10, 2021 @ 12:16

Carpio exposes another China booboo before The Hague

The Chinese government unknowingly accepted a century-old treaty that compromised its insistent claim to all islands and features in the South China Sea, Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said.

In his June 10 Inquirer column, the law of the sea expert said Beijing made a mistake during the arbitration process before The Hague which can be another argument used to debunk its sweeping claim to the West Philippine Sea. Carpio said China submitted a position paper to the arbitral tribunal saying that three treaties, including the 1900 Treaty of Washington, dictates what is part of Philippine territory.

The treaty signed with the Americans limits Philippine territory to a polygonal area drawn over a world map, which China said supports their claim that the Scarborough and Spratlys islands do not belong to Manila. But there is apparently a major loophole there, according to Carpio.

“Clearly, under the Treaty of Washington, Spain ceded to the US ‘all title and claim of title xxx to any and all islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago, lying outside the lines’ of the Treaty of Paris. What are those islands belonging to the Philippine archipelago lying outside the lines of the Treaty of Paris?,” the abogado said.

Referring to a 1734 map drawn by Father Pedro Murillo Velarde, Carpio said this effectively includes the West Philippine Sea.

“The 1734 map clearly shows that the Spratly Islands, named Los Bajos de Paragua in the map, as well as Scarborough Shoal, named Panacot in the map, were part of ‘las Islas Filipinas’ constituting the Philippine archipelago during the Spanish regime,” he added.

“Having recognized and accepted the Treaty of Washington, China is legally bound by its provision that Spain ceded to the US “all islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago, lying outside the lines” of the Treaty of Paris.”

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