Europe's Nuclear Powers Back the Philippines Vs. China in West Philippine Sea
The United Kingdom, Germany, and France have expressed their support for the Philippines in its 2016 victory against China in the landmark ruling concerning the West Philippine Sea. The three countries also slammed China's claims of "historic rights" over the entirety of the West Philippine Sea.
"This position is reaffirmed without prejudice to competing claims of coastal states over disputed territorial sovereignty to naturally formed land features and to areas of the continental shelf in the South China Sea on which France, Germany, and the United Kingdom take no position," reads the note verbale from the three countries.
This latest development is a blow to China's ambition of propping up its international prestige. It is also a significant diplomatic victory for the Philippines, considering the three countries are Europe's most powerful in terms of economic size and military capabilities.
Germany, France, and the U.K. are nuclear powers. Possession of nuclear weapons plays an important role in deterrence theory. The U.K. and France have produced their own nuclear weapons, while the U.S. has provided these to Germany as part of a NATO deal.
France and the U.K. are also permanent members of the U.N. Security Council along with the United States, Russia, and China. The Security Council is considered the most powerful body in the United Nations. Each member possesses veto power that can cancel any resolution put forward by the U.N. General Assembly.
No Comment Yet from the Philippines
As of this writing, the Department of Foreign Affairs has not yet thanked the U.K., France, or Germany for their support.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration sided with the Philippines in a landmark decision in which China's historic claims and Nine-Dash Line surrounding the West Philippine Sea were declared illegal. China has ignored this decision and labeled the ruling invalid because it did not participate in the litigation.