Publicity Stunt? Philippines Calls for Court Arbitration Over S China Sea

© REUTERS / US NavyChinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in this file still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and provided by the United States Navy on May 21, 2015
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in this file still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and provided by the United States Navy on May 21, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The Philippines has been baselessly accusing China of "bullying" in the area, disseminating unjustified claims at various global forums, and tirelessly courting external powers for patronage over the South China Sea.

Recently Manila has requested arbitration which is seen as a strategic move in order to attract attention and solicit support for its claims, Chinese media reports.

As a result of such claims, US Pacific Fleet Commander Scott Swift flew a “seven-hour maritime surveillance mission” over the South China Sea on Saturday aboard a P-8A Poseidon aircraft as part of his recent visit to the Philippines.

But despite such a tense situation, experts say court is not the place to resolve South China Sea disputes as the subject is more about politics than law.

“The history regarding the South China Sea issue is complex and confusing and the merit of the respective claims is not likely to be resolvable in a simple black and white way,” said Michael O'Hanlon, director of Research on Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC.

Similarly, a Chinese expert said that the Philippines threatens to uproot previous gains toward a peaceful solution. By disregarding China's opposition and taking the case to an international tribunal, Manila's policy inflicts a heavy toll on mutual trust between Manila and Beijing.

China has constantly implemented restraint over various provocations by the Philippines and insists that the South China Sea disputes be resolved through bilateral talks.

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