China has continued to increase its gains in the region and has come into minor conflicts with several states including the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Speaking recently, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio called for a “truth movement” to go against China. In a bold speech to the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, Mr Carpio called on the surrounding nations to come together against China as he called Beijing’s propaganda claims to territory as the “fake news of the century”.
Mr Carpio added: “This true history is clear, obvious and simple: China never owned the South China Sea in the past, and there are high seas in the South China Sea that belong to all mankind, as there are exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea that belong solely to the adjacent coastal states.
“We can call this present-day information campaign the South China Sea Truth Movement, a people’s movement using freedom of expression to explain the historical truth about the South China Sea.
“We can invite the peoples of Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, countries whose exclusive economic zones are also encroached by China’s 9-dashed line, to join us in this movement.”
The disputes in the region have erupted ever since China instigated its nine-dash-line where it has laid claim to a large amount of area in the South China Sea.
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In 2016, an arbitral tribunal in The Hague nullified China’s claims against the Spratly Islands off the coast of the Philippines.
Although Philippino President Rodrigo Duterte has at times labelled China as a “friend”, Mr Carpio has called on the nation “to defend Philippine territory and maritime zones”.
In response, however, China has vowed to protect its territory with General Wei Fenghe, the country’s minister of national defence said the county is within its right to build defence facilities.
Brazenly, Mr Fenghe has insisted that China not only feels within its rights to build on its territory but also defend in the face of any sign of intrusion or aggression.
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General Wei told the Shangri-La Dialogue: “It is the legitimate rights of a sovereign state to carry out construction on its own territory.
“Where there are threats, there is defence.
“In the face of heavily armed warships and military aircraft, how can we stay impervious and not build some defence facilities?”
In a surprising show of force, China recently sent a warship into Sydney Harbour despite the Australian Government claiming that the move had been planned.