I am writing this article as a follow on to Allen’s post “Who Is Really Overstepping the Bounds of International Law in the South China Sea?”
International law is defined by consensus but ultimately decided by “reality on the ground”. Each claimant nation of South China Sea island should have absolute faith and belief in their position before submitting any claim. That is not wrong. However, each nation should be realistic. To have the notion that “my claim is more legitimate than your claim” is counter productive. And to have this illusion that somehow “world opinion” is backing your claim make it even more laughable.
There is no denying that this is an transnational claim. The only realistic peaceful solution is for EACH nation to have one on one talk with one another to come out with a workable solution. Well, isn’t there a Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that is wise and unbiased that would make it right? Since Christmas is around the corner why don’t we ask Santa Claus to join the judgment process?
Joking aside. I will just ask a realistic question here, can the Hague’s Court settle Pakista-India land dispute, what about the Falkland/Malvinas, and what about Territorial claims in the Arctic? The truth of the matter is, the Hague has no jurisdiction, legal authority or enforcement ability to make any legal arbitration on territorial dispute. Any decision they made is as binding as a letter from Santa Claus.
The Philippines territorial claims not only overlapped that of China’s but also Malaysia’s and Vietnam’s. The Philippines submission to the Hague is simply a charade. Would the Philippines itself agree with the Hague’s decision on the latter’s demarcation of its dispute with Malaysia or Vietnam? If not why do they spend so much money and effort on this fruitless endeavour? Would Japan or Korea accept an arbitration from it? Would the US, Russia, UK, France do like wise? The answer is a definite “No”.
The Filipino government is not only taking its own citizens on a fool’s ride to nowhere, it is also putting stumbling block on its own development as a nation. Direct negotiation with involved nations is the only realistic option for a positive outcome. A diversion with the the Hague is like asking for the involvement of Santa Claus.
However, as I have said many time, to most people perception is reality. It is not wrong for people to believe in Santa Claus, but to bring Santa into a fight is delusional.