For a clearer understanding of our claim in the South China Sea, we should analyze in chronological order the claim of the parties over those islets, reefs and areas underneath the seabed, specifically before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea opted to stretch the territorial waters of countries adjacent to the sea from 12 to 200 miles, referring to the new concept of exclusive economic zone.
Before we filed our claim at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, we came across a map known as the “Murillo Map” indicating that the whole of SCS belongs to the Philippines. The commissioned by Fr. Murillo Velarde titled Carta hydrographica y chonographica de las Islas Filipinas was made in 1734. It was drawn and engraved by skilled Filipino artisans Francisco Suarez and Nicolas de la Cruz.
Prior to the submission for arbitration of our claim in 2014, we have never mentioned anything like the “Murillo Map” as evidence possibly because that would make the country look ridiculous before the panel of arbitrators. Even if we call it the “Mother of All Philippine Maps,” it cost the Filipino buyer Mel Velarde P12 million for an “antique” map nobody would seriously consider. As one says, he bought back an item that was looted from when the British invaded Manila in 1762.
If that map is admitted on the assumption it is genuine, Spain could as well submit its colonial map showing that it owns the whole of Latin America, just as Britain could present a map proving that the sun never sets in the British Empire, meaning there is daylight in every corner of the globe ruled by the British empire.
In recent history, only the Treaty of Paris signed on December 10, 1898 between Spain and the US serves as valid evidence defining our national boundaries. Others say it was not a peace treaty but sale of an indefensible colonial territory to the tune of $20 million. Specifically, Article III demarcated the boundary of the Philippines Islands, to quote paragraph 2:
“A line running from west to east along or near the twentieth parallel of north latitude, and through the middle of the navigable channel of Bacchi, from the one hundred and eighteenth to the one hundred and eighteenth to the one hundred and twenty-seventh degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, thence along the parallel and forty-five minutes north latitude to its intersection with the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirty-five minutes east of Greenwich to the parallel of latitude seven degrees and forty minutes north to its intersection with the one hundred and sixteenth degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, and thence along the one hundred and eighteenth degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the point of beginning.”
The significance of the treaty is that it demarcated, for the first time, the boundary of the Philippine archipelago. By legal implication, all that is outside the demarcated boundary is presumed not to belong to the Philippines. Even if we take it that the Spratly islands have not been discovered or assessed of their potential resources, nonetheless the line indicates that they are outside the treaty. The latitudinal line tilted closer to the islands of Palawan as it reaches the Spratly or Kalayaan group of islands as if to exclude the Spratly islands in our boundary.
Barely two years after the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, the Washington Treaty was signed on November 7, 1900. In that one Article treaty, “Spain relinquishes to the United States all title and claim of title; which she may have had at the time of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace of Paris, to any and all islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago, lying outside the lines described in Article III of that Treaty and particularly to the islands of Cagayan, Sulu and Sibutu and their dependencies, and agrees that all such islands shall be comprehended in the cession of the Archipelago as fully as if they had been expressly included within those lines.”
The US paid an additional $100,000 to secure the consent of Spain. The treaty has nothing to do with the disputed Spratly islands as others would insinuate.
In January 1935, the Committee of Reviewing Water and Land Maps of China, (ROC) now Taiwan, published both in Chinese names and English names, 132 insular features in the South China Sea. This was followed in April 1935 by the publication of the Committee of Reviewing Water and Land Maps of China (ROC) indicating locations of features in the South China Sea.
In 1947, a Filipino seaman by the name of Tomas Cloma “discovered” certain island in the Spratlys. In 1950, Philippine President Elpidio Quirino said that “as long as China (ROC) held the Spratlys, the Philippines would not press its claim. Interpreted otherwise, if the islands are controlled by the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines would press its claim on the ground that its proximity is a threat to our national security.
After World War II, a peace treaty was concluded in San Francisco and signed on September 8, 1951. It provided in Chapter II, Territory, Article 2, Section b, and Subsection (i) that “Japan renounced all right, title and claim to the Spratly islands and to the Paracel islands.” The Philippines ratified the treaty on July 16, 1956. The Philippine delegation was composed of Carlos P. Romulo, J. M. Elizalde, Vicente Francisco, Diosdado Macapagal, Emilano V. Tirona, and Vicente G. Sinco.
The Treaty has to be interpreted in the context that Japan occupied the Spratly and Paracel Islands during the war. It is being asked to renounce its right, title and claim over those islands was a mandate to Japan to return them to China.
In less than a year after the San Francisco Treaty was concluded, Republic of China and Japan signed a peace agreement on April 28, 1952. Article 2 of the Peace agreement provides, to quote: “It recognizes under Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace which Japan signed at the Treaty of San Francisco on September 8, 1951 x x x, Japan renounced all right, title and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) as well as the Spratly islands and the Paracel islands.” The peace treaty has reference to Taiwan’s claim over these islands because of the on-going civil war between the China and Taiwan.
We must take note that before the final draft of the San Francisco Peace Treaty was issued in September, 1951, Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai stated China’s position, that the consignment of the islands in the SCS to Taiwan was illegal and should not be recognized. Besides, China was protesting to its exclusion to the negotiation. Specifically, China claimed that Xisha (Paracel Islands), Nansha (Spratly Islands) and Dongsha (Pratas Islands) in the South China Sea were actually part of China. The treaty either did not address these islands, or that Pratas Islands be turned over to the UN as trusteeship territories.
Looking at the dates, one wonders how the PAC arrived at the decision when documents show that Spratly is outside of our territory. On the contrary, it was the adoption of the 200-mile limit by UNCLOS that created confusion resulting in the overlapping of claims over territorial waters plus our lack of understanding of such concepts of sovereignty over these islands to differentiate it from sovereign right over the exclusive economic zone notwithstanding that Senator Arturo Tolentino made a unique demarcation of our archipelago and called it the “Archipelagic Doctrine.”
[ 本帖最后由 蓝雨 于 2019-9-19 15:49 编辑