Republic of the Philippines

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Philippine Senior Justice of the Supreme Court holds public lecture on the South China Sea dispute in Wellington, New Zealand

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Under the auspices of the Embassy of the Philippines in Wellington and in collaboration with the Centre for Defence and Security Studies of Massey University, Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Antonio T. Carpio, delivered a public lecture with the theme “The South China Sea/West Philippine Sea Dispute” on 4 September 2015 at the National Library of New Zealand. A Cartographic Exhibit of ancient maps of the South China Sea were also put on display for the Public Lecture.

During the Public Lecture, Senior Associate Justice Carpio elaborated on issues relating to the South China Sea dispute including its scope, the nature of the arbitration case filed by the Philippines before an arbitral panel under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the legal questions raised by the Philippines in the arbitration case. Using official documents, government pronouncements and academic studies, including historical documents and maps, the lecture assessed the merits of the nine-dash line. Taking into account the UNCLOS and customary international law, the lecture also discussed policy considerations relevant to the conflicting claims and the current arbitration case.

The lecture was well attended, with Senior Associate Justice Carpio answering questions put before him. Approximately a hundred attendees were from the academe, think-tanks, Government Officials, Diplomatic Corps, representatives from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and New Zealand Police, scholars, students and the Filipino community. Professor Emeritus Graeme Fraser, Acting Director, Centre for Defence and Security Studies, delivered the welcome and introduction of Senior Associate Justice Carpio as well as moderated the Question & Answer (Q&A) portion of the Public Lecture. At the end of the public lecture, each participant was given a catalogue on the Cartographic Exhibit of the ancient maps of the South China Sea which was on display at the venue. Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Information Officer Ma. Katrina Ciara Garcia and members of the Philippine Embassy Team were also present. Ambassador Benavidez thanked Professor Emeritus Fraser, Dr. Anna Powles, Senior Lecturer, and Ms. Philippa Robertson for hosting and arranging Senior Associate Justice Carpio’s successful and meaningful public lecture. According to Dr. Powles, “the response we have received from attendees has been incredibly positive. The wealth of information conveyed so clearly by Senior Associate Justice Carpio was invaluable.”

Senior Associate Justice Carpio’s international speaking tour to countries in Europe, the United States, Asia, Oceania/Pacific is part of the Philippine Government’s collaborative and relentless efforts in advancing public awareness of the Philippine position on the South China Sea and promoting in-depth exchange of views, information and interaction on the dimensions of the current tensions around the South China Sea.

Senior Associate Justice Carpio’s Public Lecture on the South China Sea Dispute was the inaugural Lecture in a series entitled “The South China Sea Tensions Lecture Series” being hosted by the Centre for Defence and Security Studies of Massey University.

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