How is the Philippines’ arbitration case of the South China Sea going on?

16/10/2015


The arbitration case against China launched by the Philippines has attracted a lot of global media attention and global public opinion seems to support the Philippines’ case. Philippines v. China is a pending arbitration case concerning the legality of China's "nine-dotted line" claim over the South China Sea under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The Philippines is contending that the "nine-dotted line" claim by China is invalid because it violates the UNCLOS agreements about exclusive economic zones and territorial seas.[5] It says that because most of the features in the South China Sea, such as most of the Spratly Islands, cannot sustain life, they cannot be given their own continental shelf as defined in the convention.
Disputes between the Philippines and China started from the sovereignty claims over the Spratly Islands. The Philippines sued China to an Arbitration set up on January 22, 2013, in accordance with Annex VII of the UNCLOS, demanding Beijing to fully observe the regulations and procedures for resolving disputes as provided for in the UNCLOS.
In March, 2015 the Philippines submitted additional evidence relating to the lawsuit against China’s sovereignty violation in the South China Sea in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS. On July 7, case hearings began with the Philippines asking the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague to invalidate China's claims. The hearings were also attended by observers from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The case has been compared to Nicaragua v. United States due to similarities of the parties involved such as that a developing country is challenging a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in an arbitral tribunal. China had time to respond up to June 16.
However, China refuses to participate in the arbitration, claiming that the Philippines had "no legal grounds" on the filing of the case and accused the island nation of violating the non-legally binding 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, made by ASEAN and China. China issued a position paper in December 2014 arguing the dispute was not covered by the treaty because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty, not exploitation rights. Its refusal will not prevent the Court from proceeding with the case. China has partially changed its “non - participation” tactic. On December 7, 2014, China put forward its “Position Statement” on the website of its Foreign Ministry, analyzing the legal ground of the Philippines’ lawsuit and explaining Beijing’s position on the lawsuit, reaffirming its sovereignty claim in the South China Sea as well as its policy in settling dispute in the South China Sea. China continues to stress its objection and non - participation into the lawsuit, at the same time believes that the Arbitration has no jurisdiction over the case.
Refusing to join the lawsuit, China has weakened the legal ground of the UNCLOS in settling disputes. This would have direct negative impacts on the relations between China and the international legal system in the region.
Why does China object this Arbitration? China might concern that being at the Arbitration, China must provide detailed evidence to prove its sovereignty claim over areas around the disputed archipelagos. There are questions that whether the historical claims of China can be justified by the current Law of the Sea. Moreover, it is difficult for China to prove its claim righteous.
About this lawsuit, On December 11, 2014, Vietnam filed an intervention to the case which makes three statements: Vietnam supports the filing of this case by the Philippines; it rejects China's "nine-dashed line"; and it asks the Court to take note of Vietnam's claims on certain islands such as the Paracels.
Nevertheless, it seems that China’s decision not to join the case would make all parties concerned miss the opportunities, particularly for China. Viet Nam has also expressed its position to the Arbitration Tribunal. Without China’s official participation, the Tribunal will still pass a legally binding decision to China. China might ignore the judgment against its interests. However, Beijing will have to pay, at least in trying to enhance its influence and power in the international legal system. This also helps prove the role of international law and institutions in resolving regional disputes./.
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All comments [ 6 ]


Davis Caroline 17/10/15 15:26

many countries have supported Philippines's artribution case against the "cow toungue line" of China that occupies the East Sea

Elizabeth Green 17/10/15 15:30

China has sought to prevent that artribution case but Philippines has determined to pursue the case to the end

Funny Day 17/10/15 15:35

China is too greedy when this country demanded the whole East Sea through the "nine-dotted line".

Williams Melanie 17/10/15 15:44

the "cow-tongue" line of China has been rejected by the international community beacause it 's contrary to international law, especially violates the UNCLOS.

Thompson Catherine 17/10/15 15:48

the US and many countries have demanded China clearly explains the "cow-tongue" line but it can not explain and sought to ignore

erica black 17/10/15 15:53

China refused to join the lawsuit beacause they are worried about being lost in the case that means that China must give up the "cow-tongue" line

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