MANILA, Philippines - The Chinese embassy said the Philippines is abusing international laws in claiming jurisdiction over the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.
In a statement, embassy spokesperson Zhang Hua said the Philippines could not use as basis the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in claiming that the shoal is inside the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Zhang explained that it has always been the principle that land dominates the sea.
“Coastal states derive their sovereign rights and jurisdiction over EEZs from their territorial sovereignty. UNCLOS does not have any provision to change a country's sovereignty over territorial land, let alone empowering any nation to extend its EEZs to include territories of other countries.”
Thus, Philippines does not merely abuse UNCLOS in this regard, its claim also “represents a violation of the fundamental principle of the inviolability of territorial sovereignty enshrined in the UN Charter,” Zhang said.
Zhang is reacting to a call from President Benigno Aquino III that China pull out their remaining ships from the Panatag Shoal. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said there are three remaining Chinese vessels there.
"In accordance with UNCLOS…the President called on all parties to respect the EEZ and continental shelf of all coastal states irrespective of their size or naval power," del Rosario said.
“Clearly, the Philippines here has misinterpreted and misapplied UNCLOS on the basis of its own interests, which is contrary to international law and to UNCLOS,” Zhang said.