France, Germany, UK reject China's sweeping claims in South China Sea in joint note verbale

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2020 09:09 PM

MANILA - France, Germany and the United Kingdom filed a joint note verbale with the United Nations in New York, rejecting China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea.

In a note verbale dated Sept. 16, the three nations said that “historic rights” over the South China Sea waters “do not comply” with international law and provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They invoked the 2016 arbitral award won by the Philippines against China, which issued the same ruling.

“France, Germany and the United Kingdom also highlight that claims with regard to the exercise of “historic rights” over the South China Sea waters do not comply with international law and UNCLOS provisions and recall that the arbitral award in the Philippines v. China case dating to 12 July 2016 clearly confirms this point,” the joint note verbale stated. 

Reaffirming their legal positions as state parties to the UNCLOS, the three nations also said that all maritime claims in the South China Sea “should be made and peacefully resolved in accordance with the principles and rules of UNCLOS, and the means and procedures for the settlement of disputes provided for in the Convention.”

China and the Philippines are also signatories to UNCLOS.

The note verbale was filed in response to views expressed by China regarding its maritime claims in the South China Sea in previous note verbales, as well as China’s letter regarding Malaysia’s December 2019 submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

China continues to reject the landmark 2016 ruling.