Retired Philippine Justice Proposes New Arbitration Case Against China

Retired Philippine Supreme Court Justice Francis Jardeleza proposes filing a new arbitration case against China to claim damages estimated at $4.3 billion USD per year. The Philippine Coast Guard has deployed ships to the disputed Sabina Shoal, accusing China of building an artificial island and causing environmental damage.

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Nitish Verma
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Retired Philippine Justice Proposes New Arbitration Case Against China

Retired Philippine Justice Proposes New Arbitration Case Against China

Retired Philippine Supreme Court Justice Francis Jardeleza has proposed filing a new arbitration case against China to claim damages estimated at P216 billion ($4.3 billion USD) per year. Jardeleza suggests executing payment against Chinese assets outside the Philippines, such as in New York.

Why this matters: This proposal has significant implications for the ongoing maritime disputes in the South China Sea, as it could set a precedent for other nations to pursue similar legal action against China. If successful, it could also lead to increased pressure on China to respect international law and the sovereignty of its neighboring countries.

The proposal comes amid an escalating maritime row between the Philippines and China over their competing claims in the South China Sea, where $3 trillion worth of trade passes annually. China claims almost all of the vital waterway, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Beijing's claims had no basis under international law.

The Philippine Coast Guard has recently deployed ships to the disputed Sabina Shoal, also known as Escoda, accusing Beijing of building "an artificial island" there. The coastguard discovered piles of dead and crushed coral at the atoll, located 124 miles from the Philippine province of Palawan. Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Commodore Jay Tarriela stated, "There had been 'small-scale reclamation' of the Sabina Shoal, and that China was 'the most probable actor'." He added that "the presence of Chinese vessels at the atoll coincided with the coastguard's discovery of piles of dead and crushed coral."

China has carried out extensive land reclamation on some islands in the South China Sea, building air force and other military facilities, causing concern in Washington and around the region. The Philippine national security adviser has called for expelling Chinese diplomats over an alleged leak of a phone conversation with a Filipino admiral about the maritime dispute.

Jardeleza's proposal for a new arbitration case against China seeks to hold Beijing accountable for its actions in the South China Sea and claim substantial damages. If successful, it could set a precedent for other nations involved in maritime disputes with China to pursue similar legal action. However, enforcing any ruling against China remains a significant challenge, as Beijing has refused to recognize the jurisdiction of international tribunals in the matter.