China is not above the law. Its refusal to participate in the arbitral-tribunal hearing the Philippine’s territorial case against China manifests impropriety. Being a superpower having military might does not give license that this country is over and above the law and could dispense of its decisions just like that. China has not only become a bully but a swell-head. It thinks it can cow anybody, forcing others to follow its whims and caprices, or else.
The proceedings ARE important for the Philippines as it will determine the further course of the case, including needs and scheduling of any more written submissions and hearings at an appropriate time, and after seeking the views of other parties. China must answer the “memorial” before the set deadline of December 15, 2014.
China should bear in mind that it is stepping on the law and this would certainly have repercussions. China was also still given the chance to air its side and even if it will not participate, the case will still be tried. China should cooperate for further rejection will only prolong the case, which to my mind, is what China wants, to continue building its structures in the claimed islands vying for time.
China should also take into consideration the growing support of other countries for the cause of the disputed islands. Over the past days, Australia and Germany have given their support to the Phl claim and it is not unusual if more will do the same. China must realize when to stop being stubborn and undiplomatic.
J. Luis Cabañero Jr.