Long-term solution to the China-Philippine dispute over Panatag Shoal

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) admits that there is no short-term solution to the ongoing dispute between the Philippines and China over the Panatag Shoal — commonly known as the Scarborough Shoal — but that a long-term solution is now being prepared.



In April of this year, the Panatag Shoal issue began when Philippine Navy personnel were about to arrest Chinese poachers who were illegally hauling endangered corals, giant clams, and live sharks into their fishing vessels, which were allegedly fished from the Panatag seas. Chinese maritime surveillance ships then came to rescue these poachers, who eventually got away with their illegal cargo. Since then, Chinese ships have remained in the area and have continuously claimed that the Panatag Shoal is their property, despite it being just 124 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine province of Zambales and well within the 200-mile exclusive nautical zone of the country.


The DFA is looking forward to a resolution to this issue through its “three-track” approach, which involves political, legal, and diplomatic procedures. These procedures will be in accordance with the international law of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), according to DFA.


DFA says that the political approach will involve seeking the help and guidance from other countries or international groups, including the UN and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The legal approach will involve exploring and understanding the dispute settlement mechanism covered under the UNCLOS. The diplomatic approach will then be negotiations with China regarding the issue.


The Filipino people has expressed great concern regarding the Panatag issue, and still believes that the issue will be resolved despite what appeared to be sanctions and threats from China on the trade and tourism industry of the Philippines. Reports have come out regarding the problem in the banana exports to China and the travel ban to the Philippines that China has imposed on its people. DFA has clarified that the reports are not entirely accurate and that the problems are now being looked into by the involved government agencies.


So I guess, the REAL question is, do you believe that they will ever come to a compromise?

If so, how long will that be? months? Years?

Or, will China ever give up on the Scarborough Shoal?

What do you think?


Junjie M.

About Junjie M.

A wannabe journalist.

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