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Friday, July 15, 2016, 14:21

US urged to reimburse Philippines over sea arbitration case

By Xinhua

MANILA - The United States should reimburse the Philippines for the legal fees and expenses in filing the South China Sea arbitration case against China, a Philippine columnist said Friday.

Rigoberto Tiglao, a columnist who writes regularly for local English daily newspaper The Manila Times, said the US has been tearing its hair out trying to get an excuse to intervene in the South China Sea issue.

"They (the US) don't have claims in the area, and they even haven't ratified the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)," he added.

The case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government now gave the US what it wanted, so it should reimburse the Philippines, he said.

Tiglao noted that he was informed that the country spent US$30 million "for the legal fees and expenses of the eight top-notch international lawyers and their staff who prepared our case against China."

"They (the lawyers) managed to get the PCA (the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague) to redefine the standard meaning of 'arbitration,' which for centuries had been defined as procedure in which two parties agree to a third party to settle their dispute. Now, it seems, 'arbitration' can be a unilateral arbitration," he said.

The tribunal handling the case issued its final award on Tuesday, amid a global chorus that the panel has no jurisdiction and its decision is naturally null and void.

The award sweepingly sided with the claims unilaterally filed by the administration of former Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, which in the eyes of many observers, is a mockery of justice.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings, reiterating that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence related to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.

China has also said it will continue to endeavor to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea with parties directly concerned through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.

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