Oral argument by Ms Loretta Malintoppi, avocat à la Cour d'appel de Paris, member of the Rome Bar, Frere Cholmeley/Eversheds, Paris

09 November 2007

Ms MALINTOPPI: Thank you, Mr President.


Mr. President, Members of the Court, this presentation will address two separate issues: first, I will deal briefly with the cartographic evidence and its significance for the present case and, second, I will address the recognition by third States of Singapore's sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

1. The cartographic evidence

1. Generally speaking, and depending on their accuracy, maps are the graphic representation of certain geographic facts and ⎯ when it comes to providing evidence for the attribution of sovereign title ⎯ they cannot by themselves establish that title, save in exceptional circumstances, such as when they are attached to or otherwise form part of a delimitation boundary agreement (see Frontier Dispute (Burkina Faso/Mali), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1986, p. 582, para. 54). Singapore and Malaysia agree that there are no maps in this case that have this kind of legal force, as described by the Court in the Frontier Dispute case (RM, p. 176, para. 376) and reaffirmed most recently by this Court in the Nicaragua v. Honduras Judgment where the Court underscored the "extremely limited scope of maps as a source of sovereign title" (Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Nicaragua and Honduras in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Honduras), Judgment of 8 October 2007, para. 215).

2. In the present case, the evidence of Singapore's sovereignty lies elsewhere. As my colleagues have explained, Singapore's title results from the lawful possession of Pedra Branca by Singapore's predecessor in title, Great Britain, in the period 1847-1851. That title was thereafter maintained by the continuous exercise of exclusive authority over Pedra Branca and the other disputed features by Singapore up to the present.
3. Nevertheless, the cartographic evidence still has a role to play in this case in two main ways: first and foremost, as evidence that the official view held by the Malaysian Government itself prior to the emergence of the dispute was that Pedra Branca was under Singapore's sovereignty and, second, as corroborative evidence confirming the existence of Singapore's title over the disputed islands, a title which Malaysia has tacitly accepted until the emergence of this dispute.

2. The Malaysian maps as admissions against interest

4. I shall address first Malaysia's own official maps which recognize that Pedra Branca belongs to Singapore. Malaysia, understandably, adopts a very defensive attitude with respect to these maps. The issue has been debated at length in the Parties' written pleadings, and so I shall not dwell on it, except to reiterate a few points.

5. The six maps in question, which are all different editions of Sheet 135 of Series L 7010 (maps 12, 13, 14 and 15 of Singapore's Memorial; and 38 and 41 of the atlas submitted by Malaysia with its Memorial), are reproduced in the judges' folders, at tab 45. I call the Court's attention in particular to the four maps submitted by Singapore with its Memorial. All these maps are entitled "Pengerang", from the region they depict. The first map which is now on the screen is map 12, was published in 1962 by the Surveyor General of the Federation of Malaya, which is the highest authority on maps in the Federation of Malaya. The map is on the screen. If we now zoom onto the relevant portion, which shows Pedra Branca with the Malaysian translation, Pulau Batu Puteh, we can see underneath it, in parentheses, first the word "Horsburgh" and further down, also in parentheses but in capital letters, the word "Singapore".

6. The attributions on the relevant portions of the other three maps ⎯ which are now on the screen ⎯ are very similar, if not identical. The second map, which is map 13, is a second edition of the first map, also published by the Surveyor General of the Federation of Malaya in 1962. The third map (map 14) was published in 1965 by the Director of National Mapping in Malaysia, the official cartographic authority in Malaysia, and the fourth map, also by the Director of National Mapping of Malaysia, was published in 1974. The other two Malaysian maps reproduced in Malaysia's map atlas, published in 1970 and 1975, have the same annotations and were also issued by the Director of National Mapping of Malaysia.

7. All these maps are entitled to significant probative weight: they represent statements by the Malaysian official cartographic authority over a period of 14 years, prior to the time when the dispute arose, depicting Pedra Branca as belonging to Singapore. These cartographic statements are fundamentally inconsistent with the claim now advanced by Malaysia. To borrow the words of the Arbitral Tribunal in the Beagle Channel arbitration, which are particularly apposite in the present situation:

"[T]he cumulative impact of a large number of maps, relevant for a particular case, that tell the same story ⎯ especially when some of them emanate from the opposite party, or from third countries ⎯ cannot but be considerable, either as indications of general or at least widespread repute, or belief, or else as confirmatory of conclusions reached independently of the maps." (Beagle Channel Arbitration (Argentina v. Chile), Award of 18 February 1977, 52 ILR 97, pp. 203-204, para. 139.)

8. This is precisely what happened here. These official Malaysian maps individually and cumulatively tell the same story. They mean what they say and they say what they mean: Pedra Branca was regarded by Malaysia as belonging to Singapore. Nevertheless, Malaysia attempts to dismiss these maps as "equivocal" and states that "it does not accept that the maps can be characterized as admissions against interest on its part" (RM, p. 187, para. 398). Whether Malaysia likes it or not, it is difficult to see what is equivocal about these maps or how they could be characterized as anything other than admissions against Malaysia's own interests and admissions that Pedra Branca belongs to Singapore.

9. Malaysia even goes as far as questioning the attribution of Pedra Branca to Singapore specified on the maps, and it states that "it is not at all clear what the notation [Singapore] is intended to indicate" (RM, p. 189, para. 403). But what else could the map makers have intended to indicate by the notation in capital letters "Singapore" other than the island belonged to Singapore? Does Malaysia seriously contend that the annotations on the maps were intended to specify that only the lighthouse on the island belonged to Singapore and not the island itself? Such a proposition not only flies on the face of logic, but it is also belied by the maps themselves.

10. In order to illustrate the point, I would like to return to the first map of Malaysia's series L 7010 compendium dating from 1962, which was on the screen earlier (MS, map 12, also reproduced as map 32 of the Malaysian map atlas). [On the screen] This is only one example, although exactly the same comments can be made about the other official Malaysian maps published between 1962 and 1975.

11. As I have noted, Pedra Branca is clearly labelled "Singapore" on the map in capital letters and in parentheses. If the Court now shifts its attention to another island depicted on the map ⎯ labelled "Pulau Tekong Besar" ⎯ it will see that the same word ⎯ exactly in the same way ⎯ appears in parentheses with respect to this territory, "Singapore". It is undisputed that Pulau Tekong Besar is under Singapore's sovereignty. What is as significant as it is obvious from the maps is that Pedra Branca is labelled "Singapore" in exactly the same way as the Singapore island of Pulau Tekong Besar is. Clearly, both islands were regarded as belonging to Singapore. There was no lighthouse on Pulau Tekong Besar, and thus there would have been no reason for the Malaysian cartographic agency to use the word "Singapore" simply to designate who operated the lighthouse, as Malaysia has suggested in an attempt to dispose and explain away the maps in question.
12. This point is further confirmed by drawing a comparison with the island of Pulau Pisang which, as Mr. Bundy has explained, belongs to Malaysia, but on which stands a lighthouse operated by Singapore.

13. The map which is now on the screen [CMS, map 25] is also at tab 47 of your folders, and is from the same Malaysian series: it shows the island of Pulau Pisang in the bottom left corner. If we enlarge the map to focus on this island, the Court would see that the word "Singapore" does not appear on the island despite Singapore's maintenance of the lighthouse there and the indication of the lighthouse on the map. Contrary to Malaysia's argument, this shows that the word "Singapore" was not used on Malaysia's maps simply to label a lighthouse operated by Singapore on Malaysian territory. When Malaysia used the word "Singapore" on its maps, this clearly referred to the relevant holder of title over the territory.

14. Having disposed of Malaysia's first argument, I'd like to turn to Malaysia's next point: its assertion that the maps cannot be considered as admissions against interest because they carry disclaimers. What Malaysia fails to point out is that these disclaimers state that the maps are not authoritative for the delimitation of international or other boundaries. Thus, these disclaimers have nothing to do with the attribution of territory, but rather concern the delimitation of boundaries. This is an important distinction, because any deviation in the course of a boundary (which may be due to cartographic inaccuracy or to limitations caused in the scale of the maps) is of a fundamentally different character from the outright attribution of territory to a given country by an unequivocal label.

15. Even assuming, quod non, that the disclaimers also extended to attribution of territory, however, this does not detract from the maps' legal value as admissions against the interests of Malaysia. As the Boundary Commission in the Eritrea/Ethiopia case has observed, a disclaimer does not relieve a State "adversely affected by a map" of the implication that the map gives rise to, because, as the Commission noted:

"The map still stands as a statement of a geographical fact, especially when the State adversely affected itself produced and disseminated it, even against its own interest." (Decision of 13 April 2002, reprinted in 41 International Legal Materials 1057 (2002), p. 28, para. 3.27.)

16. The publication of maps is a form of State conduct. When a government, as Malaysia has done in this case, has published over a period of many years a series of maps consistently showing an attribution of territory supporting the claim put forward by another State, that must be relevant in representing the considered views of the government at the time as to where sovereignty over the territory lay. The fact that Malaysia's own official cartography is fully consistent with Singapore's position is a further fundamental defect in its case.

Mr. President, this could be a convenient time for me to stop and resume after the coffee break if you so wish.

The VICE-PRESIDENT, Acting President: Thank you so much. I think we will take our customary break now for ten minutes.
The Court adjourned from 11.20 to 11.35 a.m.

The VICE-PRESIDENT, Acting President: Please be seated. Please continue.

Ms MALINTOPPI: Thank you, Mr. President.

3. The early maps

17. Before the coffee break I described the official maps issued by the Malaysian mapping authorities, which attribute Pedra Branca to Singapore. Malaysia seeks to minimize the relevance of these maps. However, while downplaying the importance of its own official maps when they do not suit its interests, Malaysia at the same time puts great stock in other elements of the cartographic evidence. It has dealt with this issue extensively in its written pleadings: it has produced a map atlas and reproduced numerous maps and charts in its pleadings. Malaysia's arguments in respect of maps are based on two main strands: first, that early maps support its claim to an original title based on immemorial possession, as they allegedly show a connection between Pedra Branca and Johor or depict Pedra Branca within the British sphere of influence. These maps, in other words, are said to illustrate the view of third States that the island once was part of Johor's dominions.

18. The second strand of Malaysia's arguments is based on two negative inferences: first, that the maps do not show Singapore's maritime boundaries in the area around Pedra Branca (CMM, p. 264, para. 557), and second, that the existing maps do not suggest that Pedra Branca and related features are not part of Malaysia (RM, p 176, para. 376). Naturally, Malaysia conveniently forgets to mention or explain its own official maps, which show precisely the opposite of what Malaysia contends.

19. The early cartography can be disposed of quickly. I refer the Court to the six maps from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries which were reproduced by Malaysia with its Memorial (map atlas, maps 1-6). These maps are highly generalized, inconsistent and inaccurate: even Malaysia admits, at paragraph 282 of its Reply, that the scale in the early maps is not accurate. Consequently, they are of no relevance for purposes of indicating sovereignty. Moreover, none of them shows any specific attribution of Pedra Branca to Johor and can in no way support Malaysia's claim to sovereignty over Pedra Branca.

20. As for the alleged "close connection" between Pedra Branca and Johor, this is not shown by these maps and remains unproven. As Singapore demonstrated in its Counter-Memorial, other contemporary maps exist which show Pedra Branca as having no connection whatsoever with the Johor mainland and some, like two maps of Johor and dependencies issued in 1887 and 1893, which do not depict Pedra Branca at all (maps Nos. 9 and 10 of Singapore's atlas). These two maps are particularly significant. I will show on the screen now the 1887 map, which was the first official map of Johor published under the authority of the Sultan and was drawn up by a senior Johor official ⎯ as you can see in the legend ⎯ known as "Dato Bintara Luar" ⎯ which I am told means Minister for Foreign Affairs in Malay ⎯ after an extensive survey. The Sultan of Johor officially presented this map to the Government of South Australia in 1887.

21. The 1893 map of Johor, which also does not include Pedra Branca, was drawn by a surveyor in the service of the Johor Government and published in 1894 in the Geographical Journal of the Royal Geographic Society: and it will serve to illustrate a paper entitled "Johore". Upon presentation of the paper at a gathering of the Royal Geographic Society on 12 February 1894, the Secretary of the Sultan of Johor noted that this map may be "considered the map of the day" (The Geographical Journal, Vol. III, No. 4, p. 298).

22. By contrast to these official Johor maps that do not depict Pedra Branca, the maps relied on by Malaysia provide no evidence, and none is adduced, that any of the local rulers ever commissioned or authorized their production. In the light of these considerations, no conclusion can be drawn from these maps with regard to the perceptions as to sovereignty over Pedra Branca and related features at the time. As stated by the Arbitral Tribunal in the Award in the first phase in the Eritrea/Yemen case with respect to maps produced during the nineteenth century, "Conclusions based on this material would be tenuous at best." (Award of 9 October 1998, p. 95, para. 370.)

23. A similar reasoning applies to the post-1824 maps showing a division between British and Dutch spheres of influence. These maps are said to be significant because they were issued subsequently to the 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty and they do not ⎯ Malaysia argues ⎯ attribute Pedra Branca to the Dutch sphere of influence. Now quite aside from the fact that so-called "spheres of influence" are not the same as sovereign title, these maps show no attribution of Pedra Branca to any particular sovereign.

24. In the present case, title was firmly established when the British authorities in Singapore took possession of Pedra Branca in the period 1847-1851. This is also confirmed by the Dutch recognition of British sovereignty over Pedra Branca which took place in 1850 and to which I will refer later in my intervention.
4. The twentieth century maps

25. I now turn to maps produced during the twentieth century. Malaysia argues that, since certain charts and maps dating from this period do not show boundary lines in the area around Pedra Branca, they must necessarily reflect the perception that the island was not within Singapore's maritime boundaries. In other words, Malaysia's position is that the maps do not support Singapore's claim of title to the island and its related features.

26. Malaysia's argument, however, is simply ineffectual when compared with Singapore's taking of possession and its impressive record of acting à titre de souverain on and around Pedra Branca for over 150 years. Any negative inferences that might be drawn and which Malaysia seeks to draw from these nautical charts and highly generalized maps are ultimately irrelevant and do not advance its case. Whatever the maps may or may not show, they do not even begin to contradict the pattern of activities and official visits to Pedra Branca in 1847-1851, the various manifestations of Great Britain's intention and will to act as sovereign and the maintenance of this title through a variety of acts of peaceful and continuous administration carried out since 1851. And they certainly cannot negate the express disclaimer of ownership over Pedra Branca made by the State of Johor in 1953.

27. Malaysia also argues that, if Singapore has sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, it should have included these features in its maps. There is an obvious answer to that argument and that is provided by the physical distance between Pedra Branca and the Singapore mainland. After all, the fact that the maps of France do not include Martinique or Guadeloupe does not make these islands less French.

28. Malaysia then relies on certain maps showing lines at sea which it contends show Pedra Branca as falling within the territorial waters of Malaysia or its predecessors (maps 26-29 and 35-36 in Malaysia's map atlas, and maps 7-15 in CMM, pp. 286-297).
29. Singapore has already responded in detail to Malaysia's arguments for each one of these maps in its Counter-Memorial and Reply, but still some remarks are warranted in light of the extensive discussion contained in Malaysia's Reply (pp. 183-187, paras. 389-398).
30. Maps 27, 28 and 29 of Malaysia's atlas all contain similar dotted lines at sea. The map shown on the screen as an example is map 28. On either side of the line depicted on this map are the annotations: "Federation of Malaya" and "Republic of Indonesia", the other maps contain similar lines and similar annotations, such as "British Malaya", "Netherlands East Indies". Map 27 was published by the British War Office in 1944, while maps 28 and 29 were reprinted from map 27 in 1950.

31. For Malaysia, the significance of these charts lies in the fact that they show dotted lines at sea as international boundary lines between Federation of Malaya and Republic of Indonesia or British Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies which allegedly place Pedra Branca and related features in Johor waters. Malaysia also argues that, since none of these maps draws a line in the area of Pedra Branca indicating its appurtenance to Singapore "the authors did not consider that PBP fell in the Singapore (Malaya) province" (RM, p. 184, para. 391).
32. However, these charts contain no indication as to the attribution of sovereignty, and the arguments advanced in Malaysia's Reply do not change this state of things. All three maps depict Pedra Branca and Middle Rocks as a lighthouse symbol surrounded by a cluster of rocks, and identified by the label "Pedra Branca Horsburgh (Middle Rock)". South Ledge is depicted as a black dot with the label "Rock", located about two miles south-west of Pedra Branca. The dotted lines appearing in all three maps place South Ledge on the "Indonesian side" of the line. Maps 28 and 29 contain disclaimers and in map 27 the dotted line is labelled "British Malaya", a term which, at the time the map was produced, encompassed both Johor and Singapore. Thus, the line represented on this chart provides no assistance in showing whether Pedra Branca appertained to Singapore or Johor.

33. In sum, no conclusions on matters of sovereignty can be drawn from these military charts. This is further confirmed by the arbitrary nature of the dotted lines depicted on them and the disclaimers they carry.

34. Likewise, maps 35 and 37 of Malaysia's Memorial map atlas are similarly inconclusive, and both contain a disclaimer stating that they are not an authority for boundaries. Malaysia's interpretation, i.e., that they are inconsistent with Singapore's sovereignty over Pedra Branca, is thus based on pure wishful thinking.

35. Before I leave the subject of maps, I wish to discuss map 30 of Malaysia's Memorial map atlas, which can be seen on the screen. This is a compilation sheet of Johor, it is sheet No. 135 issued in 1957. Malaysia finds the map significant because it contains no specific attribution of Pedra Branca to Singapore. In its Counter-Memorial, Singapore made four points in response to Malaysia's statement that this map "was evidently carefully drawn and checked" (MM, p. 148, para. 319):

  • first, there was no indication in the compilation sheet that Pedra Branca was attributed to Johor or Malaysia (a point which is acknowledged by Malaysia in its Memorial (p. 148, para. 319) and in the Reply (p. 186, para. 397));
  • second, in any event, inclusion of a prominent feature like Pedra Branca in a compilation sheet of this nature carries no implications for matters of sovereignty;
  • third, it would have been possible to draw a compilation sheet without actually conducting a field survey on Pedra Branca;
  • last, and most important, the 1957 compilation sheet formed the basis on which the subsequent map in which Malaysia expressly and unequivocally attributed Pedra Branca to Singapore was compiled and published in 1962. We recall that this was sheet No. 135 of series L 7010.

36. In its Reply, Malaysia asserted that Pedra Branca was "key" to this survey of Johor and stated that Malaysian surveyors had travelled to Pedra Branca and taken observations from this island (RM, p. 186, para. 397). However, the temporal sequence of Malaysia's arguments does not make sense: the survey on which Malaysia relies was carried out in 1959 and the compilation sheet was issued in 1957. How could a survey conducted in 1959 have had any impact on a compilation sheet drawn two years earlier?

37. As for the crucial point I mentioned, i.e., that the 1957 compilation sheet formed the basis of Malaysia's 1962 "admission against interest map", Malaysia's only defence is that "it is not known whether this was in fact the case" (RM, p. 187, para. 398). However, this was indeed the case as can be seen from materials on the record.

38. The short answer to Malaysia is that the 1957 compilation sheet is marked "Sheet 135", in other words it bears the same sheet number as the two 1962 "admission against interest" maps. As explained by Singapore in its Counter-Memorial, further documentary proof of the fact that the 1957 compilation sheet formed the basis of the 1962 official maps can be found in the Annual Reports of the Federation of Malaya Survey Department, and I refer the Court to Singapore's Counter-Memorial, paragraph 9.29 (pp. 229-230) and footnote 582, at page 230, and also to Annex 35 to Singapore's Counter-Memorial.

5. Third States' recognition of Singapore's sovereignty over Pedra Branca

39. I will now move to the final topic of my presentation: the recognition by third States of Singapore's sovereignty over Pedra Branca.

40. As is the case with the map evidence, third State recognition alone is not sufficient to establish territorial title. Nevertheless, the fact that third States acknowledge the existence of a title belonging to a particular State attests to its notoriety and may thus serve as confirmation of its existence or represent evidence of general repute.

41. The various episodes that constitute the pattern of third-party recognition throughout the years that Pedra Branca was under the sovereignty of Singapore have been extensively discussed by Singapore in its written pleadings. Allow me to recall them briefly once again.

42. On 27 November 1850, only six months after the Horsburgh lighthouse foundation stone ceremony at which ⎯ as Mr. Brownlie recalled ⎯ Pedra Branca was described as a dependency of Singapore, the Dutch General Secretary in Batavia expressly referred to "the construction of a lighthouse at Pedra Branca on British territory". This was done in a letter to the Dutch Resident in Riau. The letter concerned the payment of gratuities to the commanders of Dutch gunboats who had assisted Thomson in patrolling the waters between Riau and Singapore during the construction of the lighthouse. The relevant passage is reproduced at tab 48 of the judges' folder and it deserves to be quoted in full. It is on the screen now:

[Place on screen]

"As commissioned, I have the honour of informing Your Excellency that the government has found no grounds for granting gratuities to the commanders of the cruisers stationed at Riau, as proposed in your despatch of 1 November 1850, number 649, on account of their shown dedication in patrolling the waterway between Riau and Singapore, lending assistance to the construction of a lighthouse at Pedra Branca on British territory. And they deserve it so much the less because the cruiser crews have failed to perform their actual duties which is to cruise against pirates whose brutalities have been repeatedly complained of in the vicinity of Lingga." (RS, Ann. 8, emphasis added.)

43. It should be emphasized that the Dutch General Secretary in Batavia was the highest ranking civil servant in the Netherlands East Indies and ⎯ as secretary to the Governor-General of the Netherlands East Indies ⎯ his letters carried the authority of the Governor-General. In particular, the author of this letter, Mr. Visscher, had occupied the position of General Secretary since 1841. He thus held this job for nine years when he wrote this letter. Quite aside from the authority of his position, Mr. Visscher was clearly very experienced and knowledgeable in the affairs of the region. His contemporary opinion that Pedra Branca fell under British sovereignty must therefore be entitled to considerable weight.

44. The second episode I wish to recall concerns a meeting among technical experts from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which occurred in May 1983. At the meeting, Singapore reported on two wrecks in the vicinity of Pedra Branca and informed the delegates that Singapore had issued Notices to Mariners notifying the position of the wrecks (MS, Vol. 7, Ann. 156).
45. No objection was raised at the meeting by any of the delegates as to Singapore's conduct, and yet ⎯ thanks to the Notices to Mariners issued by Singapore ⎯ there could be no question as to the exact location where the incidents took place. Clearly, there was also no question in the participants' minds that the incidents occurred in Singapore's waters.

46. As Mr. Bundy has already explained, in at least two instances Singapore granted permission to nationals of third States to carry out activities on Pedra Branca and its territorial waters: the first concerned a 1972 request by a member of the American Piscatorial Society to study the migratory habits of certain fish species, and the second a 1981 request by a British firm, Regis Ltd., to the Hydrographic Department of the Port of Singapore, to conduct a scanner of undersea areas six to ten nautical miles north-east of Pedra Branca in connection with salvage operations. In both cases, the requests were addressed to and granted by Singapore authorities.

47. Malaysia dismisses the first episode because the application was made by a private individual and was addressed to the Chairman of the Singapore Light Dues Board, i.e., to the entity responsible for the lighthouse. However, Malaysia's objections are misplaced: the opinion of a private individual, although it may not per se be determinative of the question of title, is nevertheless evidence that a certain state of affairs was a matter of public knowledge. In the present instance, Singapore's conduct was consistent with that of the holder of the legal title over territory and the conduct of the Applicant is evidence of the notoriety of a state of affairs. Furthermore, Malaysia's comment does not detract from the significance of the fact that this particular individual wrote to an agency of the Government of Singapore in order to obtain permission to visit Pedra Branca, not to Malaysia, and that a Singapore government agency granted the request. This was an official act of a sovereign nature, and it attests to the fact that it was a matter of public knowledge that Singapore possessed sovereignty over the island.

48. The last, and most recent, episode took place on 4 June 2005 in connection with a collision between two ships, the Uni Concord and the Everise Glory, in the vicinity of Pedra Branca.

49. I would simply recall here that the press releases issued by the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs to comment on the death of a Filipino crew member, which resulted from the incident, stated that the collision occurred: "at sea, off Pedra Branca, Singapore". You can also, at your leisure, look at Singapore's Reply, Annex 61 and Annexes 59 to 66 for the relevant diplomatic correspondence on this incident. Coming from a neighbouring State of Singapore and Malaysia, which is presumably well informed of the state of affairs regarding sovereignty in the region, the Philippines recognition merits particular attention and significance.

50. Finally, the map, which has been reproduced by Malaysia as map Annex 5 of the Reply, a copy of which is also contained at tab 49 of the judges' folders.

51. Malaysia introduces this map in an attempt to discredit the fact that the United States Gazetteer has been listing Pedra Branca as belonging to Singapore since 1970 (CMS, p. 233, para. 9.32). Malaysia describes this map as a "recently declassified United States Department of State map of the area" (RM, p. 188, para. 400).

52. However, as admitted by Malaysia itself at footnote 575, page 188 of its Reply, this is not a map drawn and published by the United States State Department, but a digital copy, stored in the United States State Department database, of the Joint Operations Graphic issued by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and sent to the Singapore Government in draft form in 1993 for the Singapore Government's comments. As the Court will recall, Singapore formally protested this map with the United Kingdom Government because the word "Malaysia" appeared and was added under the legend "Pulau Batu Puteh (Horsburgh)". Following Singapore's protest of what appeared to be a political attribution of Pedra Branca to Malaysia, the first and only time that this was done in this series of maps, the United Kingdom withdrew the map and never published it (see CMS, pp. 234-235, paras. 9.35-9.36).

53. It is not clear how Malaysia's case could be advanced by a copy of an English map kept in a United States digital database, not widely distributed or easily accessible. This map can hardly be considered evidence of the opinion of the United States and even less of general repute. Moreover, since the original map on which this copy is based had already been protested by Singapore, neither the original English map, nor, a fortiori, its United States copy can have any legal value in this respect. By contrast, it is clear from the 1970 Gazetteer that the United States Board of Geographic Names, which is a federal entity composed of representatives from several branches of the United States Government, attributed Pedra Branca to Singapore. In the "Malaysia" section of the same Gazetteer, no entries can be found for Pedra Branca not even under its Malay name, "Pulau Batu Puteh".

54. In conclusion, none of the episodes, none of the arguments raised by Malaysia in an attempt to belittle the significance of these episodes of third State recognition of Singapore's sovereignty over Pedra Branca has any merit. The fact of the matter is that all these episodes, whether initiated by private individuals or emanating from States or State entities, testify to a general recognition that Pedra Branca falls under Singapore's sovereignty and that Singapore has responsibility for activities conducted on and around the island. By contrast, and despite all of its attempts, Malaysia has nothing to show regarding recognition of its presumed title over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

Thank you for your attention, Mr. President, Members of the Court. If I may ask you now to give the floor to Professor Pellet to continue with Singapore's presentation.

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