Territorial dispute between China and the Philippines?

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It really makes me curious what's to be disputed about if we have international laws to handle lawfully territorial claims. Don't have those laws and why does to have be this long and be threatening. Can't the international bodies who govern territories interfere and help settle this at once? Philippines is a poor country, while China is one of the superpowers in terms of their military force. They second to the US. I understand that China couldn't just give up what's it's own, but if it turned out that the South China Sea rightfully belongs to the Philippines, would they just free it? I think they should.
 
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Rules for determining borders have definitely been set in international law. However, despite these laws there are still many grey areas considering ownership of a region. Sometimes this may depend on historical ownership, which on its own can be very complex.

Even if the rules were clear-cut, countries may not be signatories to the law and there is also no real enforcement by the international community. Often it is the stronger nation that can push its influence and claims on disputed lands.
 
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It really makes me curious what's to be disputed about if we have international laws to handle lawfully territorial claims. Don't have those laws and why does to have be this long and be threatening. Can't the international bodies who govern territories interfere and help settle this at once? Philippines is a poor country, while China is one of the superpowers in terms of their military force. They second to the US. I understand that China couldn't just give up what's it's own, but if it turned out that the South China Sea rightfully belongs to the Philippines, would they just free it? I think they should.
Well I wish it was that easy, but unfortunately it's not. Look at America, do they rightfully own this nation? No they don't. The settlers destroyed many people to lay claim to this country, which I think should be giving back to the natives, but we don't live in a fair world.
 
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Because there's no such thing as an "international government" and states are co-equal, independent entities that shouldn't interfere with the territory, population, sovereignty and government of other countries, the UN is the closest thing to an international government. Sadly, the most it can do is to pressure misbehaving countries. In circumstances where countries start to take up arms, the UN can deploy troops for peacekeeping purposes. It's priority, however, is to engage in diplomacy and negotiate with countries by suggesting solutions. So with the situation as it is, this territorial dispute between China and the Philippines can't be resolved with the interference of third party countries, much less the UN. China doesn't even follow the UNCLOS.
 
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It is just a game of cat and mouse. I think everyone knows that the Philippines is in the right ( same with Vietnam vs China in another issue). However, China also knows that nobody is really going to do anything if they just nudge in little by little. As long as there isn´t a real military engagement or loss of life, then in 20 years, China will just have controlled the area for so long that nobody is going to debate their ´claim´..
 
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The situation is slowly escalating, Philippine fishermen constantly harassed, boats being rammed, the Chinese continuously building structures that looks like military garrisons despite the protests of Philippines and Taiwan (was it?) anyways the news calls it "China's Creeping Invasion".
 

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It really makes me curious what's to be disputed about if we have international laws to handle lawfully territorial claims. Don't have those laws and why does to have be this long and be threatening. Can't the international bodies who govern territories interfere and help settle this at once? Philippines is a poor country, while China is one of the superpowers in terms of their military force. They second to the US. I understand that China couldn't just give up what's it's own, but if it turned out that the South China Sea rightfully belongs to the Philippines, would they just free it? I think they should.
There are many different relevant international laws. Depending on which you choose to follow, you can have a different rightful claimant. For instance if you go by the law that recognizes historical sovereignty, China seems to have a better claim. But if you examine that law further, you see that China didn't really do anything to develop the Spratly Islands and therefore its claim is weakened.

Also, some of the international laws are very vague. There is a great overlapping area for the Exclusive Economic Zone which both Philippines, China and many other countries have laid claim to. How do you split the pie? The law doesn't say how.

Unfortunately because of this messy situation, all sides are using force to create a fait accompli. They want to make things so unbearable for the other side that they decide it will be more beneficial to pull out of the dispute than to continue fighting. But because national pride and jingoistic ideals have become involved, the costs of pulling out on both sides have increased greatly and neither side is seeing that as a viable option.

The final problem is that international laws are unenforceable unless countries submit themselves to arbitration under the International Court of Justice. While Philippines has been willing to do so, China has been unwilling because it thinks that the ICJ will be biased against it. The end result is that there is no court of law that can pass judgment on matters of fact and on what is the relevant law. Thus although it is commonly claimed that the 9-dotted-line map is bogus, there is no court of law to pass judgment and confirm that.
 
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#8
I afraid that the conflict between the Philippines and China about the Spartly Island and Bajo di Masinloc are quite becoming dangerous. I do believe that the action made by the Philippines to take the issue to ITLOS it a very good move to have long lasting peace and order in the South China Sea. Unfortunately China is not willing to participate in the arbitration. But still I am hopeful that the issue will be resolve to avoid war and blood between the two Asian Nation.
 

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