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It belongs to China: Philippine media

(China Daily)

15:43, May 09, 2012

The Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island) does belong to China which discovered it and drew it in a map as early as 1279 during the Yuan Dynasty. Chinese fishermen, from both the Mainland and Taiwan, have since used it. As a matter of fact, Guo Shoujing, (the Chinese astronomer, engineer and mathematician who worked under the Mongol ruler, Kublai Khan) performed surveying of the South China Sea, and the surveying point was the Scarborough Shoal which is considered part of the Zhongsha Islands (renamed Huangyan Island in 1983).

By contrast, the "old maps" being relied upon by our Department of Foreign Affairs in its spurious claim on the same territory were drawn up only in 1820, or 541 years after China's. I am surprised that Senator Edgardo Angara - supposedly a renowned lawyer - can claim that a map drawn 5 centuries and 4 decades after, takes precedence over the much earlier map of China.

But I am all the more astonished that Fr. Joaquin Bernas, in his April 22 article in another newspaper, being one of the main framers of the 1987 Constitution, uses the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as his basis to defend the Philippine claim. This, despite and after acknowledging the fact that, indeed, "the Scarborough Shoal is OUTSIDE THE LIMITS set by the Treaty of Paris for Philippine territory." What kind of double-speak is that?

So, what exactly was the territory we declared independence from the US in 1946? Why is it that NONE of our constitutions, past and present, from 1899, 1935, 1943, 1973, 1986 and 1987, include either the Spratlys or the Scarborough Shoal within our declared national territory? Where, or from whom, did we, all of a sudden, acquire title to these? Out of thin air?

In the late 1970s, China organized many scientific expeditions in the Shoal and around that area. In fact, in 1980, a stone marker reading "South China Sea Scientific Expedition" was installed by China on the South Rock. This Chinese marker was removed, without authority, by the Philippines in 1997.

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