The ongoing battle between the Philippines and China over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea is more than just an exercise of sovereignty over a vast and internationally significant maritime zone.
For some political experts in security and political affairs, it’s more of a political campaign in the Asia-Pacific region than a simple territorial dispute between ASEAN neighbors. As previously reported by the Morning News USA, over the past months, several countries in different continents have signified their individual stance on the issue, with each country taking their side in the conflict.
On China’s Side
Ahead of the impending decision from the international tribunal that hears the territorial dispute lodged by the Philippines against China for allegedly encroaching its territory inside its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), several African and Arab nations have sided China’s position. In particular, these countries, are one with China in the position that whatever the conflict between the claimant countries, must be settled unilaterally, that is, without resorting to international arbitration.
But on top of these countries from Africa and Middle East that backed China’s cause in this battle not only with the Philippines, but with other Asian countries, the biggest ally of China in this endeavor would be Russia, the ABC News reported. If there’s one thing that China and Russia share is that both countries are highly critical of the United States.
On The Philippines’ Side
On the Philippines sides are its longtime allies, including the United States. Although the U.S is not a party in the case or in the territorial dispute in the region, the Americans have been campaigning for what they called ‘freedom of navigation’. Other countries that support the Philippines include Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia, among others.
Like the Philippines, the U.S has been pushing for international arbitration and asked China to abide by the ruling of the United Nations’ Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The court is expected to hand down the much-awaited decision in the coming days or weeks.