Photo from Abigail Valte's Twitter account

The Philippines told the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), Tuesday, (Nov. 24) that China cannot claim the South China Sea based only on historical facts and ancient maps.

Philippines’ deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that Manila’s lawyer Paul Reichler argued that China’s “purported historic rights” over the strategic waterway “do not exist” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

China marks these “rights” with a nine-dash line that extend beyond China’s southern Hainan island and loops towards Indonesia.

The line almost covered the entire South China Sea even the waters that are near the border of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

Theses waters caused the rivalry between China and the United States.

Source: WikipediaThe Philippines, which is unable to confront China because of it’s weak navy filed a 4,000-page plea in March last year asking the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to proclaim China’s nine-dash line as erratic with Unclos.

Another Philippine lawyer, Mr Andrew Loewenstein, said that even if China had rights to the territories it claims, “failed to satisfy the requirements to establish (its claims)”.

Mr Loewenstein insisted that China had not been in “exclusive control for a long period of time” over the South China Sea.

Loewenstein presented eight maps, one that dates back to the Ming Dysnasty, showed that areas covered by China’s nine-dash line had never been considered Chinese territories, until now.

The hearings in The Hague, set to last till Nov 30, are being held away from public scrutiny, yet spectators from Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam have been permitted in. -John Esconde