“This is indeed a remarkable achievement that many have called a David vs. Goliath legal triumph of right over might”
On July 12 it will be the sixth anniversary of the Philippine victory in the Arbitral Tribunal Ruling that unanimously declared China’s so-called “nine-dash line” claim of nearly the entirety of the South China Sea without legal basis. To this day, this remains an escalating risk to regional security.
Coercion and intimidation layered with China’s continuing militarization of occupied islets and to assert territorial possession has threatened the free flow of global maritime commerce and is causing wanton destruction of marine food resources critical to littoral states.
Concurrent tensions with China sending military aircraft into Taiwan’s Air Defense Zone signal the possible use of force in what President Xi Jinping has said is a “reunification” that “must be fulfilled.” On the other hand, US president Joe Biden has said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan.
The economic shock waves of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now causing supply chain disruptions and high inflation that will further kick down recovery timelines just as countries are struggling to re-open economies and have really no choice but to go on and live with the lingering, though less deadly, COVID-19 variants.
The 2016 Arbitral Award is a historic milestone that the Philippines has contributed to assert the international rules-based order and affirmed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is a feat that the international community has praised and reaffirmed in rejection of China’s expansive incursions and baseless claims in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
This is indeed a remarkable achievement that many have called a David vs. Goliath legal triumph of right over might that establishes an international legacy in the spirit of peace, cooperation, and co-prosperity.
As the prime proponents of asserting Philippine maritime and territorial rights stated in the Arbitral Award, the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi) is hosting a hybrid event themed “Redefining Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in an Age of Uncertainty” on July 12, 2022. This is yet another rare gathering of international geopolitical thought leaders organized by the institute to share their perspectives and analyses of the current context and how Philippine foreign policy will be critical in addressing challenges and open opportunities in emerging scenarios.
Ambassador Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to the United States, will give the keynote address.
There will be two groups of panelists, first of which will discuss the sub-theme on “The Philippine Outlook for Regional Cooperation and Engagement”. Participating in this session are: Lisa Curtis, Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program and Senior Fellow of the Center for a New American Security; Murray Hiebert, Author of “Under Beijing’s Shadow: Southeast Asia’s China Challenge”, a Senior Associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Director for Research of BowerGroupAsia.
From the diplomatic community are H.E. Jana Sediva, Ambassador Czech Republic and Alistair White, Deputy Head of Mission British Embassy in the Philippines.
From the academe are: Yusuke Takagi, an Associate Professor of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, and Prof. John Blaxlan of the Australia National University International Security & Intelligence Studies.
The second sub-theme on “The Philippine Perspective on The Current Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Architecture” will be tackled by Dr. Renato de Castro, a Trustee and Program Convenor of Stratbase ADRi and DLSU Professor, and RADM Rommel Jude Ong, the Executive Director of the Security Reform Initiative and Professor of Praxis, Ateneo School of Government.
According to the institute’s president, Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit, the Indo-Pacific region faces a new age of uncertainty in the maritime domain, given the competing claims in the South China Sea. Realizing maritime security in the region demands like-minded states to work together to effectively respond to present and emerging threats in the region.
The archipelagic geology of the Philippines is blessed with vast marine resources that must be protected as China still refuses to acknowledge the Arbitral Ruling and has continued to circumvent international rules and norms to push forward its expansionist ambitions with continuing incursions into Philippine sovereign territory and depleting marine resources well within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The geopolitical challenges confronting the Philippines creates an opportunity for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to assert an independent foreign policy that prioritizes the welfare and security of Filipino citizens and uphold the legacy of the 2016 arbitral ruling. There must be an unambiguous stand against China’s disrespect of UNCLOS and Philippine territories.
I encourage you to hear the top geopolitical thinkers’ dissecting complex nuances but more importantly finding peaceful paths to move forward in the July 12, 2022 live online event of Stratbase ADRi. You are welcome to the free registration posted at the ADRi facebook page or via this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1tglfKOpR4KlRlWQz-kPsw?fbclid=IwAR3koJ3DNhLTldDUmrsQgixQBMa8NqAnecVw9QPnYDVMJkYXV9du9QVTmWs