Philippines files UN claim to extended continental shelf in South China Sea

By Reuters
June 16, 2024
An aerial view shows Thitu Island, locally known as Pag-asa, in the contested Spratly Islands, South China Sea, March 9, 2023. — Reuters

MANILA: The Philippines filed a claim with the U.N. on Saturday to an extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea, a waterway where it has had increasingly confrontational maritime disputes with China.


“Today we secure our future by making a manifestation of our exclusive right to explore and exploit natural resources in our ECS entitlement,” Marshall Louis Alferez, foreign ministry assistant secretary for maritime and ocean affairs, said in a statement.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. Portions of the strategic waterway, where $3 trillion worth of trade passes annually, are believed to be rich in oil and natural gas deposits, as well as fish stocks. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 found China’s sweeping claims have no legal basis, a ruling Beijing rejects.

China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday’s U.N. filing.

In its confrontations with Philippine government and fishing vessels, China’s coastguard has stepped up the use of water cannon,collision and ramming tactics and, according to Manila, use of a military-grade laser. An armada of Chinese fishing boats is considered by the Philippines and its allies to be a sea militia.