Republic of China and Philippines

Table of Content

I. Summary/Background Spratly Islands is a group of reefs in the South China Sea, located midway between Vietnam and the Philippines and claimed by several countries. It is a disputed group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays, and islands in the South China Sea. The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia (Sabah), and Southern Vietnam. They contain less than 4 square kilometers (1. 5 square miles) of land area spread over more than 425,000 square kilometers (164,100 square miles) of sea.

The Spratly’s are one of 3 archipelagos of the South China Sea which comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs and which complicate governance and economics in that region of Southeast Asia. Such small and remote islands have little economic value in themselves but are important in establishing international boundaries. The Spratlys are popular among fishermen. However, they are considered dangerous for commercial navigation. Maps from the early part of the last century have advised seamen to avoid passing through them.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

No native islanders inhabit the islands which offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves. The Spratly area holds significant reserves of oil and natural gas, it is a productive area for world fishing and commercial shipping, and coastal countries would get an extended continental shelf. . Around 200BC China firstly discovered the Spratly Islands and other Southern Sea Islands. In 1606 The Spain adventure and sailor Andreas de Pessora reached some of the western Spratly islands and named ‘a larger islet’ with the name Isla Santa Esmeralda Pequena.

Today it is unknown which island Pessora reached, but it could be Spratly Island, or also one of the south-eastern islets. The Germans wanted to claim several islands in the Spartly Group, but the Chinese Government threatened with war. After several government notes between Berlin and Peking, Germany gave up Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands but became controller of the area of Tsingtau during 1883. At year 1885 China officially claimed all islands of the Spratly Group. In 1947 Philippines claimed some of the eastern islands in the Spratly Group and claimed too the Scarborough Reef.

During 1956, The Philippines built up a military base on North Danger Reef. The Philippines’ armed forces discover Chinese-constructed concrete markers on Mischief Reef, within 200 kilometers of Palawan Island, in the Philippines on February 8, 1995. Japan renounced its claims in 1951. France let its claims lapse in the 1950s. In 1946, the Republic of China occupied Itu Aba (Taiping Island), the largest of the Spratly Islands, and placed a garrison there. However, it did not permanently occupy the area.

Since this period, a whole series of other claims have been made, or reiterated, by Vietnam (North, South, then unified), the Peoples Republic of China, The Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. In 1974, the PRC attacked the South Vietnamese Navy in the Paracels, killing Vietnamese sailors, and establishing control over the Paracels. Since then, there have been numerous incidents. The most serious clash occurred in 1988, leading to 74 Vietnamese deaths. In recent years, there have been an extensive number of low-level conflicts.

Most have involved fishermen or exploration vessels, but a minor incident involved an Indian warship visiting Vietnam that transited an area claimed by China in August 2011. On June 11, 1978, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines issued Presidential decree No. 1596. The decree claims title to the Kalayaan Group of Islands. The Philippine Government registered its claim with the United Nations Secretariat on May 20, 1980, with the description of Kalayaan. It is said that it was “discovered” by , a Filipino seafarer, between 1947 to 1956 named Tomas Cloma, and entitled it Freedom Land.

Cloma yield his rights to the Philippine Government, which created a municipality out of it as part of Palawan province. Kalayaan is located 400 kilometers west of Palawan and is made up of 53 islands, reefs cays, and shoals. Brunei’s claims to the reef are based on the Law of the Sea. It states that the southern part of the Spratly Chain is actually a part of its continental shelf and therefore a part of its territory and resources. Malaysia’s claims are based upon the continental shelf principle, and have clearly defined coordinates. This argument still requires that the islands were res nullius, though.

China claims to have discovered the islands in the Han Dynasty in 2 BC. The islands were claimed to have been marked on maps compiled during the time of Eastern Han Dynasty and Eastern Wu (one of the Three Kingdoms). Since the Yuan Dynasty in the 12th century, several islands that may be the Spratlys have been labeled as Chinese territory followed by the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty from the 13th to 19th Century. In 1755, archaeological surveys the remains of Chinese pottery and coins have been found in the islands and are cited as proof for the PRC claim.

The Philippines base their claims of sovereignty over the Spratlys on the legal principles of “discovery” and “occupation”. It claims that Kalayaan according to the issues of Res nullius and geography. A second argument used by the Philippines regarding their geographical claim over the Spratlys is that all the islands claimed by the Philippines lie within its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone according to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Philippines also argue, under maritime law that the People’s Republic of China can not extend its baseline claims to the Spratlys because the PRC is not an archipelagic state.

Vietnamese claims that it has occupied the Spratly and the Paracel islands at least since the 17th century, when they were not under the sovereignty of any state, and that they exercised sovereignty over the two archipelagos continuously and peacefully until they were invaded by Chinese armed forces. II. Philippine Foreign Policy Toward Spratly A Philippine senator protested the French annexation of the Spratlys, in 1933. A parliamentary committee studied the issue but the U. S. government, which controlled the Philippines at that time, did not take an interest in the matter.

Vice President Elpidio Quirino claimed the Spratlys on behalf of the Philippine government in 1946. A year later, a declaration of the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs declared that the “New Southern Islands” previously occupied by Japan during World War II were part of Philippine territory. In 1955 the Philippine military stated that the Spratlys group was of “vital proximity” to the country. The following year, Tomas Cloma a Filipino navigator and businessman issued a “proclamation to the whole world” claiming ownership and occupation of the Spratlys.

Cloma sent six letters to the government about the need to settle the question of ownership of the islands. In 1957, the vice president of the Philippines replied, assuring Cloma that the government “does not regard with indifference the economic exploitation and settlement of these uninhabited and unoccupied islands by Philippine nationals. ” According to Filipino law professor Haydee Yorac, the Cloma declaration was the first assertion of title to the Spratlys after Japan refused its ownership of the islands in 1951 and 1952. In 1978 President Ferdinand Marcos issued a proclamation declaring ownership of most of the islands in the Spratlys.

The area was renamed the Kalayaan (Freedom) Island Group. The proclamation laid the following basis for the Philippine claim: “By virtue of their proximity and as part of the continental margin of the Philippine archipelago”; that “they do not legally belong to any state or nation, but by reason of history; indispensable need, and effective occupation and control established in accordance with international law”; and while other states have laid claims to some of these areas, their claims have lapsed by abandonment and cannot prevail over that of the Philippines on legal, historical, and equitable ground.

” In 1995 President Fidel Ramos uttered the Philippine position about the Spratly’s issue. He said “I would like to clarify that the Philippines does not only claim eight islands in the south China Sea but owns all islands and waters in the Spratly as defined in the presidential decree issued by former President Marcos The Philippine government filed a diplomatic protest against China for the 1999 intrusion onto Mischief Reef, and has welcomed the participation of the United States and the United Nations in efforts to find a solution to the Spratly’s dispute.

In 2002, China and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea that aimed “to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned” (ASEAN 2002). This has created a tense stalemate that can change at any time.

Tensions increased when the Sulu Sultanate from the Philippines attacked North Borneo in early March 2013. North Borneo is part of Sabah, a member state of Malaysia that has claimed the Spratly Islands. In 2004 the Philippines made a foreign policy decision about the Spratly Islands. The verdict was to create a tripartite agreement for the purpose to study the potential of oil reserves west of Palawan Island. The agreement stipulates oil companies from each country will perform research to discover the oil potential in a define area in the

Spratly Island region. The oil companies are the Philippine National Oil Company, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, and the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation. The Philippines initiated through the tripartite agreement is a peaceful resolution to the Spratly Islands dispute, and bring cooperation to the South China Sea, while meeting the Philippines own oil needs. The oil exploration area is approximately one hundred and forty three thousand kilometers and south west of Palawan Island.

The Tripartite agreement was initiated by the Philippines President Benigno Aquino III and visiting Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang agreed on October 26, 2011 that adherence to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was important in the peaceful resolution of territorial issues in West ( South China Sea) The two leaders witnessed the signing in Malacanang of the memoranda of understanding for information sharing between the two navies and for a hotline between the two coast guards. President Benigno Aquino’s government had begun bidding for some 70 billion pesos (US$1.

8 billion) worth of military contracts, the initial outlay of a 500 billion peso budget for a five-year modernization of the 125,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines. United States is also willing to help the Philippines in its military defense against China. Recently, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario went to Washington, DC to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss arms procurement as well as the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty. U. S. Navy surveillance planes just conduct routine maritime patrol to monitor activities in the disputed South China Sea.

According to the document there were confirmed flights of U. S. P3C Orion aircraft over the South China Sea especially in the disputed Spratly Islands. III. Conclusion This conflict is endless as long as China and the Philippines continue their claims. Unless one of the states or both states give up its claim, the conflict will continue without any resolve. Along this line, three possible solutions are recommended. A lot of countries have been claiming the Spratly Island. It is claimed by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.

The issue is followed by a series of arguments and caused a conflict between China and Philippines. The main reason why such problems occur is that the claimants have different bases on why they believe that their country deserves a part of Spratly. Spratly Island is very controversial island as it has been the cause of the long term dispute between China and Philippines. Discoveries have shown that this island is rich in mineral resources: coral reefs, fishing grounds, and natural gas reserves that are as large as 17. 7 billion tons, as estimated by the China’s Geology and Mineral Resources Ministry.

Its economic importance cannot be undermined as its geographical location is strategic. It also controls one of the most important sea-lanes in the world. It links the Indian and the Pacific Ocean with the South China Sea as the main passage of navigational vessels bound to South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. It has no arable land and is found to be rich in oil deposit and natural gas. Due to the mentioned resources, a lot of countries have been claiming the islands for themselves. There is no doubt that Philippines have the right to claim Spratlys.

It is based on the fact that Spratly Island is included in their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which is 200 Nautical Miles beyond a coastal states 12-mile territorial sea. It grants sovereign rights over the natural resources and exploitation in the zone, while preserving the freedom of navigation. This has been agreed upon during the third UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982. Chinese’ reason in claiming Spratlys is so obsolete. The basis of claiming should not be on who first discover the island. If that will be the case, Spaniards and Portuguese must claim half of the world now.

It is also not the number of population that should serve as the basis of claiming because if that will be the case, every island that China has been claiming now belongs to them. Philippines’ control of the island would equate to control of 50 percent of global merchant and 80 percent of the crude oil transport. If the Philippines would insist on claiming the island, it can help on the economic growth of the country. The proper utilization and usage of the properties of the island could lead to economic expansion of the Philippines.

Looking on the other possible circumstances that could happen regarding on Spratly island, it is also efficient that Philippines will give up the claim on Spratlys and let China manage the island for some reasons. China has more advanced technology and facilities compared to Philippines. There is a higher possibility that they can develop well the island. China can also use Spratly more efficiently for they have more advanced resources which can help in gaining higher economic benefit from Spratly. Claiming Spratly island can also ensue to war.

China will not let it pass and this idea of claiming will lead China on sending their advanced military forces for Spratly. War can caused great destruction to Philippines and it can destroy the country. If Philippines would insist to own Spratly, a large amount of money is needed for its military defence. These funds can be utilized more efficiently for other economic purposes for the development and beautification of the country. There are lot of important things that the Philippines have to deal with.

This fund can be used to solve the different problems of our country like education, housing, and also for the preservation of our natural resources. These issues must be settled first for the country’s economic expansion. Philippines should fix and further develop their country before claiming the Spratly island. Another solution can be through sharing the claimed areas between the claimants whenever feasible. As noted, rich oil and natural deposits in the area are the driving factors over the disputed territories.

The agreement has to be something that will allow both states to gather the resources from time to time and share it between them. In this manner the resolution of the Spratly’s conflict is done through diplomatic means, for the agreement has to pass through several meetings and negotiations between conflicting parties, before an agreement is created. Continued bilateral talks between China and Philippines would ease the tension. As the same time, these negotiations would give rise to the agreement and other possible ways for the resolution of the conflict.

On the other hand, China and the Philippines may result to a diversion process. In this case, the states would shift their attention from conflict to the pursuance of their diplomatic ties and cooperation. Existing bilateral agreements between both states may be reviewed for its further implementation. Both states may create and engage in other mutually beneficial bilateral agreements. These agreements will allow the relationship of both states to stabilize. Aside from that, these will also make the states progressive.

From the above possible solutions, the long term decision about this conflict is that the Philippines should not claim the Spratly Islands. Basically, Philippines don’t have that “legal” basis in claiming Spratly. As mentioned above, Philippines is not that capable in the development of the mineral resources of the island. If it is in the hands of China, this territory can be more expanded. Its minerals can be more utilized. Instead Philippines, should focus on the mineral resources and oil deposits that our country have.

Also this argument can also cause war between Philippines and China. We all know that China has more superiority in military defense than Philippines. This war can also cause great destruction of our country. Also if Philippines would insist to own the territory of Spratlys, a large amount of fund is needed. This can be financed for the development of our country and be used efficiently. The funds intended for Spratlys can be a great help in solving our country’s economic issues. And this can possibly lead to Philippines’ economic growth.

Cite this page

Republic of China and Philippines. (2016, Aug 18). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront