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Manila seeks early tribunal ruling over sea dispute with China

Published on Jun 18, 2014 3:38 PM
Protesters hold anti-China placards and shout slogans during a rally in front of the building housing Chinese consular offices in Manila on April 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippines said it will ask an international arbitration tribunal to make a speedy ruling on its dispute with China over exploiting waters in the South China Sea after Beijing refused to take part in the proceedings.

Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario said Manila might also ask the United Nations arbitral court in The Hague to issue an order that would halt Chinese reclamation work in contested waters, such as on Johnson South Reef and Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly archipelago.

Manila is seeking confirmation at the tribunal of its right to exploit waters in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone as allowed under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Earlier this month, China rejected a notice from the tribunal which gave Beijing until Dec 15 to reply to the first international case filed against it over the potentially energy-rich waters.

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