There have been two world wars in the past century but there has been none afterwards.
This is because of the passage in 1945 of the United Nations (UN) Charter that generally kept countries from waging war at each other, retired Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio said in a television interview.
“Before the adoption of the UN Charter the use of force was allowed to settle disputes, to acquire territory or maritime zones. That’s why we had two world wars…,” Carpio said.
He said: “It is against international law to use force to settle any kind of dispute between states. You have to go through negotiation, mediation or arbitration.”
“If you violate that provision of the UN Charter you become a rogue state and the UN Security Council can in fact sanction you,” he stressed.
But Carpio lamented that China has been courting sanctions with its new Coast Guard Law which allows firing at foreign vessels entering its territory including the portions of exclusive economic zones of other countries which China claims.
“China is destroying international law. China is trying to change international law so that its hegemonic ambitions may be realized,” he said.
He claimed that China’s new law is already rising tensions in the region.
“This is a very grave escalation of the dispute in the South China Sea because if China now use armed force, will fire on vessels of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Indonesia, if they do that to the Philippines it will escalate,” he added.
If this happens, he said, the Philippines might be forced to invoke its Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States.
“We must use the rule of law here before things escalate out of hand,” he advised.