Why does China claim the West Philippine Sea?

Why does China claim the West Philippine Sea?

The West Philippine Sea falls within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Eduardo Ano, the Philippines National Security Adviser, said:
“Under international law, the Philippines has the right to patrol the length and breadth of the West Philippines Sea which necessarily includes Bajo de Masinloc.”

Bajo de Masinloc is the Philippine name for Scarborough Shoal, which lies about 220km (137 miles) off the coast of the Philippines and falls within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ), according to international maritime law.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), extends 200 nautical miles (about 370km) from a country’s coast.

Scarborough Shoal is about 1,000km (620 miles) from China’s southern island of Hainan.

China has claimed that a Philippine military ship had “illegally entered” the waters near Scarborough Shoal.

China seized the Scarborough Shoal from Manila in 2012, claiming it to be theirs.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, ruled in the Philippines’ favour.

On 22 January 2013, the Philippines instituted arbitral proceedings against China in a dispute concerning their respective “maritime entitlements” and the legality of Chinese activities in the South China Sea.

On 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China) issued a unanimous award largely favourable to the Philippines.

Amongst other things, the tribunal concluded that China breached the provisions of UNCLOS, in particular by (a) temporarily prohibiting fishing in areas of the South China Sea falling within the Philippines’ EEZ.


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