The area of the extended continental shelf that the Philippines claims in this latest submission is located West of Palawan, in the central part of the South China Sea. The submission affirms that the Philippines' filing is in accordance with Article 76 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), with the aim of building confidence and promoting international cooperation in the peaceful and amicable resolution of maritime boundary issues.

The Philippines acknowledges that its submission may overlap with Vietnam's 2009 submission in the northern part of the South China Sea, the joint submission of Vietnam and Malaysia in 2009, and Malaysia's most recent submission in 2019. However, the Philippines states that these submissions were also made in accordance with Article 76 of UNCLOS and are “generally consistent” with the 2016 South China Sea arbitration ruling. The Philippines also expresses its willingness to discuss with the relevant States the delimitation of the maritime boundaries.

[NEW LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA] The Philippines’s new submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

Source: East Sea Institute.

The scope of the extended continental shelf that the Philippines claims in its submission shows that: (i) The Philippines is claiming the extended continental shelf from Sabah/North Borneo, where there is an ongoing dispute with Malaysia; and (ii) the Philippines' claims overlap with Vietnam's 200 nautical miles continental shelf, measured from its baselines (see the map above).

On June 17th 2024, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian stated in a press conference that the Philippines' unilateral submission infringes on China's sovereign rights and jurisdiction, violates international law including UNCLOS, and goes against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. He further stated that according to the CLCS's rules of procedure, the commission would not consider or qualify the Philippines' submission if it involves the delimitation of disputed waters.

On June 18th 2024, the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations sent a note verbale to the UN Secretary-General stating that China has sovereignty over groups of islands in the South China Sea, as well as sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the “relevant waters”, seabed and subsoil thereof. The document also says that the Philippines' submission has seriously infringed China's sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in the South China Sea. China has requested that the CLCS not consider the Philippines' submission.

On June 20th 2024, responding to reporters’ questions, spokesperson of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang said that coastal States, as Parties to the 1982 UNCLOS, have the right to determine their outer continental shelf boundaries in line with relevant provisions of the 1982 UNCLOS. However, when submitting their extended continental shelf claims, coastal States must respect legitimate rights and interests of other relevant coastal States with opposite or adjacent coasts. Vietnam reserves all its rights and interests under international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS, and stays ready to exchange with the Philippines to seek and achieve a solution that is mutually beneficial for both countries. Vietnam also asserts that its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) is in accordance with international law and its legitimate rights over national maritime zones established pursuant to 1982 UNCLOS.