PH backs China’s candidate to World Court

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    FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday ordered the Philippine mission to the United Nations to vote for China’s candidate to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

    The ICJ, the highest United Nations court for inter-state disputes, is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. Judges are eligible for re-election. It will hold elections on November 11, for five seats to be vacated in February 2021.

    Four of the eight candidates contesting the five positions are incumbent judges. One of the four is Chinese Judge Xue Hanqin, who is also the vice president of the ICJ, also known as the World Court.

    “DFAPHL@PHMissionNY you are instructed to cast the Philippine vote for the Chinese candidate to the International Court of Justice. That is your only clear instruction,” Locsin said in a tweet.

    Locsin did not give details.

    A United Nations document dated June 29, 2020 showed the Philippines nominated another candidate, Japanese Judge Yuji Iwasawa, not China’s Xue.

    The Philippines under the Duterte administration has supported close ties with China in a bid to curry funding for its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure projects, as Beijing continue its aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea.

    Duterte also temporarily set aside a 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that dismissed China’s massive claims in the South China Sea under its nine-dash line theory.

    Aside from China and the Philippines, also claiming parts of the South China Sea are Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

    China does not recognize the ruling, and has proceeded to construct artificial islands in the disputed waters, three of which are located inside Manila’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

    Last September during the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Duterte upheld the country’s arbitral victory against China and said it was already part of international law. – With Reuters