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Int’l Tribunal not Solution to Sea Tensions

China Daily
May 14, 2012
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BEIJING - The Philippines has been seeking an international arbitration to resolve a month-long maritime standoff with Beijing over Huangyan Island in the South China Sea, but a closer look at the proposal easily puts Manila's real motives in question.

Analysts said the proposal lacks legal ground and is not a right solution at all.

Tensions have been running high since the April 10 episode when a Philippine warship entered waters off Huangyan Island and acted under the pretext of "protecting sovereignty" to harass Chinese fishermen, who were taking shelter from a storm in the lagoon.

In a show of what it called restraint, Manila has proposed to bring the disputes to the International Tribunal For the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to decide the ownership of the island.

"We do not wish to escalate any tensions right now," Philipine President Benigno Aquino's spokesman said. "Therefore, what we're doing for now is to just to document the situation ... and consequently raise (it) before the tribunals."

However, analysts doubted whether the proposal, which is short of legal ground, could provide a way out of the current stalemate.

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