Philippines claims continental shelf rights in the South China Sea

The Philippines seeks to register its right to an extended continental shelf in the Western Palawan region.
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Los derechos sobre la plataforma continental extendida

The Philippines has filed a claim with the United Nations, focusing on rights over the extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea, a maritime area where disputes with China have intensified. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs Louis Alferez said the move ensures the Philippines’ exclusive right to explore and exploit natural resources in its ECS.

Rights over the extended continental shelf

China claims almost the entire length of the South China Sea, including areas also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. This strategic waterway provides global trade with earnings valued at $3 trillion per year, is home to rich oil and natural gas deposits It is home to rich deposits of oil and natural gas, as well as abundant fish stocks.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China’s broad claims have no legal basis, a ruling Beijing does not recognize. The Chinese embassy in Manila has not issued comments on the Philippines’ recent submission to the UN. The Chinese coast guard has stepped up its tactics against Philippine ships, using water cannons, collisions and military-grade lasers. The Philippines and its allies regard Chinese fishing boats as a maritime militia.

On the other hand, the Philippines is seeking to register its right to an extended continental shelf in the West Palawan region of the South China Sea. This initiative, approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is based on a comprehensive technical and scientific study of the continental shelf within its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

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In addition, using rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Philippines intends to establish the outer limits of its continental shelf, which includes the seabed and subsoil up to 350 nautical miles. In 2012, the UN confirmed that Benham Rise, off the east coast of the Philippines, is part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf, a region not disputed by China.

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Source: Offshore Engineer

Photo: Shutterstock

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