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The South China Sea

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AREO ANGELO L. BANQUERIGO
China has been using a historical lie to insist on its claim over the whole South China Sea,
and ancient Chinese maps never claimed the area, including the disputed Spratly Islands and
Scarborough Shoal, as Chinese territory, according to a senior Supreme Court justice.
In a recent talk at the Ateneo de Davao University last December 11, 2015, Supreme Court
Associate Justice J. Antonio Carpio noted China has used its 9-dashed line argument to claim the
whole South China Sea as its territory, even though there is nothing historical or right about
Chinas 9-dashed line claim.
Carpio presented several ancient Chinese maps, some dating as far back as 960 AD, which
showed that Chinas territory reached only as far south as Hainan island.
Since the start of the Song Dynasty in 960 AD until the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, a
period of almost a millennium, the southernmost territory of China has always been Hainan Island
based on all official and unofficial maps of China, said Carpio. "Even after the establishment of the
Republic of China in 1912, the Chinese governments constitutions from 1912 to 1946 consistently
declared that the territory of the Republic of China remained the same as the Qing Empire.
It has been time immemorial that China has been telling the world that its southernmost
border was Hainan Island, which for centuries a part of Guangdong Province until 1988 when it
became a separate province.
Based on the same ancient maps, he said the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal never
appeared in any Chinese dynasty maps. The Spratlys are more than 600 nautical miles from Hainan
Island and Scarborough Shoal is 500 nautical miles both are at the other end of the South China
Sea.
On the other hand, numerous ancient maps, made by both Westerners and Filipinos form
1636 to 1940, consistently show that Scarborough Shoal has always been part of Philippine territory.
Scarborough Shoal has never appeared in a single ancient Chinese map throughout the long history
of China.
China had insisted that Scarborough Shoal is Nan Hai Island, where a Chinese explorer built
a celestial observatory in the year 1279, but China itself officially declared that Nan Hai Island was in
the Paracel Islands more than 380 nautical miles away from Scarborough Shoal.
Carpio argued it is physically impossible to build an observatory on Scarborough Shoal
when it was just a rock, with no vegetation and did not even have enough space to accommodate
an expedition party. It is quite ridiculous to claim that the famous Chinese astronomer-engineer
-mathematician would visit and write for posterity about a few barren rocks that barely protruded
above water at high tide, he quipped, adding that there is no historical record of a Chinese
expedition to Scarborough Shoal.

In contrast, the Spaniards and the Americans extensively surveyed Scarborough Shoal
during the time they were the colonial powers in the Philippines. China has no historical link
whatsoever to Scarborough Shoal.
According to research, the islands under dispute are rich in oil deposits, income generating,
which would normally captivate the neighboring countries attention and claim that these islands form
part their territory.