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Analyses and Commentaries, U-Shaped Line and Maritime Delimitation

The Philippines in the South China Sea dispute

South China Sea

The Philippines in the South China Sea dispute

Renato Cruz De Castro
Professor, De La Salle University, Manila, The Philippines

The 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff between the Philippine and Chinese civilian vessels constitutes an arch-typical international incident. Three years before the incident, China had already become more assertive in pursuing its expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea. Since 2009 it has built a powerful and formidable navy to back its territorial claims. It has also actively challenged the littoral states’ EEZ claims and threatened them with various military exercises aimed at demonstrating its readiness and capacity to exert coercive military pressure to effect control over the islands and waters within its nine-dash map.

These developments coincided with a major political change in the Philippines – the election of Benigno Aquino III to the presidency. After a few months in office, President Aquino began to challenge China’s claim in…

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