Law of the sea: ‘All bark no bite’ PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 May 2015 09:12

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

International laws like the United Nations Law of the Sea lacks one very important factor that a law should have, like “penalty clause” when there is no compliance. However, it is not surprising because it is an accepted fact, internationally that “there is no penalty for a violation of an international law” and the only penalty for any violation is public opinion. Punishing a country or her President for a jail term for violation of an international law is like “looking for a needle in a haystack”, unless the world condemns the violation and treats the violator country like a “persona-non-grata” and if the violator country succumbs to world pressure and treasures their foreign relations more important than their interest, then international law will run its course. Other than that, an aggrieved country’s complaint is just a “voice in the wilderness”.

* * * *

The issue on China’s aggressive move on the Spratlys’ shoals and isles, claimed by several ASEAN nations and lodged with the United Nations (UN) for possible settlement has been with the U.N., since the first day when China built infrastructures and docking facilities in those shoals and isles, but until today nothing has happened. Today, our Philippine Air Force reported and confirmed by the US Navy that China is building huge man-made islands as big as 15 football fields, more than enough to accommodate, airports, wharves and other military facilities. The controversy at the West Philippine Sea is brewing into a major conflict by China and the United States, two of the worlds major military and economic power. This could not have happened if the issue was resolved by the U.N. had the latter intervened when the first coral was lifted from the Philippine seas by China for their reclamation project in the shoals. Today it might be too late to resolve unless China that already spent billions of dollars is willing to give in to the pressure of “pubic opinion”. The ball is in the court of China with the Philippines and other ASEAN nations as spectators in a game of wits and guts.

* * * *

Not only are the Spratlys issue remains unresolved by the U.N. for settlement. Domestically we have the North Borneo or Sabah claim by the Sultanate of Sulu. Until now nothing is happening on this over a century old complaint. Around the world we have terrorism, human trafficking and modern slavery, civil war and many others that can be a potential international conflict. These crimes can only be resolved if the U.N. puts more teeth in international laws and not only against crimes on humanity like genocide.

* * * *

The Philippines can trace its roots to China, where most Filipinos have Chinese roots in their veins, Businessmen, lawmakers, military men, pastors and priests, even some Muslim leaders and warlords and many other ordinary Filipinos have Chinese blood in them but this does not make the Philippines a “playing field of China”. We are now Filipinos, with our own country, culture and customs and our Chinese blood does not make a reason for China to grab our lands and consider them as “forbidden islands”. Besides, our Chinese blood and Chinese looks has long evolved into a new Filipino race.

* * * *

Scoop: The “seven golden grains” of Mao Tse Tung is now gaining grounds, because China is aggressively expanding its area. They have more mouths to feed and lesser grounds to plant, the only trouble is, China has opened her “bamboo curtain” too wide. Indeed to acquire more power and wealth is through the “barrel of the gun”.