- The UNCOS tribunal court has favored the Philippines on their territorial dispute against China
- China has shunned the ruling, but has suggested an another form of resolution regarding the dispute
- Taiwan joins China in its disdain over the ruling due to a conflict of interest in one of its territories
China, who has lost against the Philippines over their territorial dispute, continues to reiterate that the tribunal court’s ruling has no legal basis.
In 2012, the Philippines has challenged China’s claims over West Philippine Sea as the East Asian country became aggressive over some of its territories that still fell under Philippine jurisdiction.
The Spratly Islands, which has caused the major dispute among neighboring Asian countries, is said to have vast reserves of natural resources. The sea that it lies in also plays a major role in shipping and has become a major fishing area.
The Philippines then has raised their case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which has released their ruling in favor of the country yesterday afternoon.
The ruling came from an arbitration tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which both countries have signed.
According to the tribunal, which is based in Hague, China has no historical claims on the territory and resources that fell within its ‘nine-dash-line’. They ruled that China has violated the Philippines’ sovereignty while they operated within the country’s territories.
Despite the binding authority of the arbitration court, it has been reported that it cannot enforce its ruling, hence China’s insolent claims.
Xi Jinping, the incumbent Chinese president, stated that the ruling would not affect their ‘territorial sovereignty and marine rights’ in any way. However, he is also committed to resolve the disputes his country has against neighboring countries.
(photo credit: ft.com)
Chinese media has also shunned of the ruling. Chinese state news agency Xinhua claimed that aside from the panel’s lack of jurisdiction, the decision made was ‘naturally null and void’.
READ ALSO: A primer on PH vs China arbitration
On the other hand, the Philippines is elated over the ruling and dubbed it as a ‘milestone decision’. Netizens have called the momentous event as #CHexit on social media. An important side effect of the ruling was that fishermen near the Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Panatag Shoal, can return to the area to fish again.
(photo credit: globalnation.inquirer.net)
Third parties, such as the United States and Japan, have urged both the Philippines and China to abide by the ruling.
The United States, who played the role of arbiter prior to the decision, said that the ruling was an ‘important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to the disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea.’
READ ALSO: Finally! Fishermen return to Panatag Shoal
Despite the constructive remarks of the other countries involved in the dispute, there is also another who is in line with China’s defiance – Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China was not in favor of the ruling, as a conflict of interest arose in one of the territories. The country claimed that it will fight for its ‘seriously damaged’ rights.
Even if China is downright defiant over the ruling, it has suggested another option for resolution – a consultation with the concerned state to have a ‘joint development in relevant maritime areas’.
The country has responded to the UN ruling in an appeasing matter, setting parameters that could be worked on to ensure that they would still have territorial sovereignty and maritime rights as President Jinping said.-Kami Media