A professor explained that compared to Beijing’s claims which were based merely on historical accounts and description of “knowledge of the seas,” the Philippines had a more solid basis in the Murillo artifact, which was a “territorial map.”
He also cited that Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had also raised the point that even the 1949 Constitution of the People’s Republic of China never mentioned the disputed territories as part of the communist regime.
Meanwhile, Professor Xiao Chua of the De La Salle University (DLSU), added that even all the early maps of China up to the early 20th century showed that its southernmost territory was Hainan Island.
“It’s not the nine-dash line that they are saying,” Chua said. “So it means they recognize it even during the time of the emperors. Their territory only extended to Hainan Island.”
Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri, said that the AFP was looking into the claim of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that China had occupied 10 more reefs in the South China Sea as well as increased activities in the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.
Iriberri said that it was the first time that he heard of this information since the AFP surveillance images of the disputed waters did not show this.
“We will confirm it. We have not yet talked to Justice Carpio but we have to check it first,” Iriberri said.
According to Carpio, China wants to reclaim Panatag and put up an air and naval base to control the Bashi Channel, an important launching pad for firing nuclear arms, possibly against the United States.
Iriberri said the AFP was also looking into media reports of the presence of buoy and boom with Chinese markers found in the waters off Zambales which he said could be used for dredging.
“There have been some reports that it could have been used for dredging, but coming from where, that we have not established so far,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United States, in a rare admonishment of a close ally, the US urged the European Union on Wednesday to speak out more forcefully to support Washington in its dispute with China over building and militarization of man-made outposts in the South China Sea.
Amy Searight, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, said Washington welcomed European Union calls for a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the sea and respect for international law.
But there was “somewhat of a difference of approach” when it came to Washington’s call for a freeze on activity by rival claimants, something China has rejected.