Earlier this week, the Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario announced that Manila would be seeking a judicial settlement to its territorial dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoals.
The shoals themselves lie in rich fishing waters with the potential for vast deposits of gas. China’s claim also impedes on similar ones from Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, while there are other territorial disputes between China and Japan, and between Russia and Japan over maritime interests and islets.
The decision to refer the Philippines’ claim to arbitration under the United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea is the correct one. It’s a remedy that all of the other nations with interests in maritime disputes in the South and East China seas should seek.
Recent years have seen fishermen arrested, gun boats acting menacingly and ideologues landing on various islands and raising flags in dubious assertions of national sovereignty.
Arbitration is the way to go — and the powers that be in Tehran should acknowledge this in dealing with their illegally occupied islands belonging to the UAE in the Arabian Gulf.