PH senators brush off China's 10-dash line map

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — Senators on Thursday issued separate statements rejecting China’s new map showing its extended claims in the South China Sea.

Beijing this week released an updated version of its standard map that features 10 dashes forming a U shape to show that the entire South China Sea is part of its territory. It overlaps with the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

In the case of the Philippines, a 2016 Arbitral Award invalidated China's expansive claims in the South China Sea. The arbitral tribunal largely ruled in favor of Manila in areas of its EEZ and continental shelf that are being claimed by Beijing.

Speaking to CNN Philippines’ The Source, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said China’s move will only trigger more protests, especially from other claimant nations.

"The more, the merrier, marami na kaming miserable dito (many of us are miserable here already)…I expect more opposition from more countries, misery loves company and that means we'll have more petitions from other countries so we're not alone in this fight," he said.

For Sen. Risa Hontiveros, China is being delusional as it does everything it can to claim what is not theirs.

“This ‘map’ is Beijing’s desperate attempt to assert its lies and propaganda,” she said in a statement.

She also urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to coordinate with the National Resource and Mapping Authority (NAMRIA) “to update a map that clearly shows our Exclusive Economic Zone, continental shelves, and territorial seas in the West Philippine Sea.”

Hontiveros noted that China’s new map also shows Taiwan, the Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin plateau—which India claims—as parts of China. India has filed a protest regarding this.

Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel, meanwhile, stressed that the Philippines is not obligated to recognize the territorial claims of other nations.

“It is important to concentrate on our own position: on the extent of our territorial claims as well as maritime zones,” he added.

For Sen. Francis Escudero, China can issue maps as much as it wants to but it “does not affect us nor does it impinge on the Arbitral Ruling in our favor. Any unilateral declaration by a State has no weight nor standing in international law.”

Asked about the issue, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said: “Nang-iinis lang ‘yan (They are just being annoying).”

Meanwhile, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said “adding a 10th dash, and designating for the first time the 10 dashes as China's ‘international border’ in the South China Sea, is not routine.”

“Claiming the high seas, and exclusive economic zones of other coastal states, in the South China Sea as China's national territory is not routine,” he added.

The DFA said on Thursday that a protest has been filed regarding China’s issuance of the map.