UN court OKs next round of arguments on West PH Sea row

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The Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands is the seat of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The United Nations Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague has decided to proceed with a second round of oral arguments for the Philippines to present its case regarding a rankling territorial row with China in the West Philippine Sea.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, a member of a high-level Philippine delegation in the Netherlands, said on early Friday evening (July 10) that the five-man Tribunal has instructed the Philippine team to prepare for a second round of presentation to be held on July 13.

"The Philippines received word that the Arbitral Tribunal will conduct a second round of arguments on the issue of jurisdiction," Valte said in a statement.

She added that the Philippine side had undertaken sufficient preparation to ensure that the best answers will be provided to the questions expected to be asked during the second round.

For the coming round, the Tribunal will be asking more questions regarding Manila's petition against Beijing concerning disputed waters. The Philippine delegation is composed of representatives from all three branches of government.

During the initial round on July 7, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay introduced the case for the Philippines and presented the order of speakers. He was followed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who made an impassioned plea for the Tribunal to recognize its jurisdiction due to the importance of the case not just to the Philippines but to the entire world owing to its impact on the application of the Rule of Law in maritime disputes.

Next to Del Rosario were Paul Reichler — chief counsel for the Philippines — who presented the justification for the Tribunal's jurisdiction over the case and Prof. Philippe Sands who said that the Manila did not raise questions of sovereignty over land or about maritime delimitation.